Drafting a Cornerback in Round 1 Makes Sense for the 49ers

Offensive line gets most of the attention when it comes to draft needs for the 49ers, but cornerback has just as strong of a case for them as well.
Nov 4, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry (1)
Nov 4, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry (1) / Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

It is incredibly difficult to project who the San Francisco 49ers will end up drafting in the first round.

Picking at No. 31 makes it a complete variable as there is no telling how the draft is going to play out. All it takes is for one player to get taken for the whole draft to go sideways than what anyone expected. For the 49ers, I am sure they would like to take a polished offensive lineman in the first round.

It is a need after all, especially on the right side of the offensive line. That is why so many mock drafts from analysts have the 49ers taking an offensive lineman there. However, I would argue that cornerback has close to if not just as strong of a case as the offensive line for the 49ers.

It would make total sense for the 49ers to take a cornerback at pick No. 31 because the entire position does not have a single player for the long-term. The 49ers' two most prominent starters, Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir, are free agents after the 2024 season.

I sincerely doubt that the 49ers will allow both players to walk, and it is possible both can return beyond 2024. Still, the 49ers need to have a contingency for the long-term and drafting a cornerback in round one gives them that.

Plus, the 49ers have been looking for solidification at cornerback for years now. There is a decent chance that they can find their immediate impact starter at the end of round one. Alabama's Kool-Aid McKinstry could possibly be there and even Iowa's T.J. Tampa who was most recently mocked to the 49ers by Pro Football Focus.

The more mocks that come out about the 49ers taking an offensive line, the more I am convinced they don't pull the trigger on one. It will certainly always be a chance that they do, but I can see them viewing cornerback as a spot where they want at least four years of solidification.

Jose Sanchez