Six Foundational Players the 49ers probably would take with the 13th Pick

Grant Cohn

49ers general manager John Lynch made his draft plans clear earlier this week. He said he “hopes” to trade down, because there are merely six “foundational” players he would take with the 13th pick. “Foundational” means a player a team can build around for the next decade. “Foundational” is the key word.

Here are six foundational players the 49ers probably wouldn’t hesitate to draft with the 13th pick.

1. Ohio State Defensive End Chase Young.

The defensive line is the foundation of the 49ers’ defense. They’ve spent first-round picks on defensive linemen four of the past five years, including last year, when they took Nick Bosa.

Young is better than Bosa. The 49ers absolutely would take Young if he were to fall to pick 13 -- every team in the NFL would take him at 13. Unfortunately for the 49ers, Young won’t be available for them. The Redskins almost certainly will take him with the second pick.

2. Clemson Linebacker/Safety Isaiah Simmons.

The 49ers don’t need another linebacker. They have Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw, two young studs. Plus they have Kwon Alexander, who’s expensive.

But Simmons isn’t just a linebacker.

He can play linebacker, safety and slot cornerback. He can play practically any position. He’s the most athletic player in the draft and will be foundation of some team’s defense for the next decade.

Imagine what 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh could do with Simmons. Saleh's specialty is blitzing linebackers and safeties. Simmons would bring out the best of Saleh, or any defensive coordinator.

But Simmons probably won’t be available for the 49ers. He’s too good.

3. Auburn Defensive Tackle Derrick Brown.

Brown is the only “foundational” defensive tackle in the draft, the one with the best chance to play like DeForest Buckner in a few years.

Brown is a big man -- 6’5”, 326 pounds. And he’s an excellent run defender. He instantly would improve the 49ers run defense, which was mediocre last season.

Brown also is an effective pass rusher who would be a major upgrade over Solomon Thomas. Brown seems like a perennial All Pro. Meaning he probably won’t fall to 13. If the Colts thought he’d drop, they probably wouldn’t have traded the 13th pick for Buckner, who’s older and more expensive. They probably would have kept the pick and taken Brown.

4. Ohio State Cornerback Jeffrey Okudah.

Wide receivers typically aren’t foundational players, but cornerbacks are. Especially lock-down cornerbacks like Okudah. The 49ers haven’t had a cornerback as good as Okudah since Deion Sanders 26 years ago. 

Okudah is the total package -- he can cover, he can tackle and he can take the ball away from the offense. If he falls to pick 13 -- unlikely, but possible -- the 49ers should take him and not think twice.

5. Alabama Offensive Tackle Jedrick Wills Jr.

The 49ers don’t need a left tackle just yet, but they’ll need one soon to replace Joe Staley.

Good left tackles are rare. Usually, teams take them high in the draft. If the 49ers want an elite left-tackle prospect to replace Staley in a year or two, they probably need to take one with the 13th pick.

Wills Jr. is an elite left-tackle prospect. He has quick hands and feet, and played in the SEC, the most physical and violent conference in college football. He could learn from Staley, then replace him.

6. Georgia Offensive Tackle Andrew Thomas.

Thomas is another elite left-tackle prospect who played in the SEC. He would be a worthy heir apparent to Staley.

If Thomas drops to the 13th pick, I expect the 49ers will take him. But if he and the rest of these foundational players are gone, I expect the 49ers will trade down.

Comments (18)
No. 1-10
billgates666
billgates666

I would trade up for Derrick Brown. They'd have to leap frog Carolina and J'Ville, but it would be worth it. Don't know what they could offer though. The 13th pick + next years number one? Could Kwon Alexander be part of the package?

billgates666
billgates666

If there is a big run on QBs, meaning that Burrow, Tua, Herbert and Love all go top 12, that means there would be 8 position players on the board, including 1-2 of the top wideouts (Jeudy/Lamb) which means that potentially, one of those guys could drop, likely one or both of the tackles.

Coffee's for Closers
Coffee's for Closers

Simmons actually has a good chance of being available at #13. There's no question his athleticism and potential but the question of what position that potential best belongs in might have him being taken a little later than some might think. If teams in the top 12 see him as more of a safety than linebacker he could fall out of that range

Chase Young, Derrick Brown, and Jedrick Wills are the players that I'd say have zero chance of still being on the board at #13. Okudah isn't likely but I don't think it's impossible and Thomas is probably the 3rd tackle off the board tomorrow but depending on how things shake out that could take place at #13.

Heatwaves
Heatwaves

This article should be titled, "5 Players Who Won't Be Available When The 49ers Pick." Only Andrew Thomas has a shot at being around at 13. Talking about Chase Young or Okudah is just silly as they're not even remote options.

SJBurden
SJBurden

Better than Bosa said with gusto..Grant you are so annoying.

Footballfan55
Footballfan55

There is no way those players are going to be available by the time we get the pick. Unless an absurd amount of tackles are taken in the top 10.

Mitchell Alan
Mitchell Alan

It's classic gamesmanship by GM John Lynch.

There are NOT 6 foundational players in the draft for the 49ers. I don't see it.

Lynch is currently playing brinkmanship with the other GMs who might worry the Niners will "pick their guy" at 13. Lynch cast a wide net: Lynch says he has "six" options -- and that means every team picking behind SF is worried Lynch picks their favorite.

What Lynch wants known is that "any team coveting anybody" will have to trade multiple picks to move up to the Niners' No. 13 spot.

Ryder1650k
Ryder1650k

Sounds about right since they are all rated in the top 10 on most boards. Who would you take if the following were available at 13? Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, Cee Dee Lamb, CJ Henderson, Javon Kinlaw, K'Lavon Chaisson, or Tristan Wirfs? Or perhaps the better question, what player HAS to be there at 13 for us to stay at 13?

Daniners
Daniners

I see the logic, but I still think that they moved to 13 for Ruggs. Whether that is smart or not, I still believe that was their intent. Now, other than maybe Thomas, there's little chance of proving your theory. none of those guys are likely to fall. Too good. Now, my theory related to Ruggs, could absolutely be tested. I hope they trade down and grab CJ (even though he may go in top 10), but we'll see.

MT9er
MT9er

Yes... And they would probably take Jerry Rice or Steve Young if they were available too. I don't mean to be a jerk, but the reality of any of those players being available is slim to none, and of course drafting one of them would be a no-brainer. Wouldn't it would be more interesting to discuss players they might actually have a chance of selecting?


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