Why the 49ers Won't Draft a Cornerback Early

Drafting a cornerback in the first few rounds makes perfect sense for the 49ers, but it isn't something that is likely to happen when the NFL draft arrives.
Nov 18, 2023; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State Cyclones defensive back T.J. Tampa (2) looks to tackle
Nov 18, 2023; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State Cyclones defensive back T.J. Tampa (2) looks to tackle / Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive line has been chalked up as the position the San Francisco 49ers will draft in the first round.

However, cornerback is just as important of a position for the 49ers to address as well. They've been looking for their third cornerback to join their anchors Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir for two seasons now.

Plus, the 49ers don't have any cornerback signed for the long-term. Lenoir and Ward are set to become free agents after 2024. Drafting a cornerback in the first round gives them at least four years and someone who is fairly talented.

That is why Pro Football Focus recently mocked Iowa's T.J. Tampa to the 49ers at pick No. 31. Unfortunately, I don't see the 49ers drafting a cornerback in any of the first few rounds. Usually when the 49ers draft a player on day one and day two, they target players who address a need.

Cornerback isn't really much of a need for the 49ers anymore after they signed Isaac Yiadom and Rock Ya-Sin in the last month. Both of these players will compete to start on the outside along with Ambry Thomas, and that is assuming they even give Thomas a fair shot.

Drafting a cornerback in the first few rounds will essentially force the 49ers to give the rookie that favoritism since he was drafted so high. Doing so will make the signings of Yiadom and Ya-Sin pointless. Not unless the 49ers actually don't mind letting the rookie come along slowly and be brought on in the middle of the season.

However, I just don't see the 49ers doing that and caring to wait on a rookie to develop in the year if he can't start immediately. Free agent signings shouldn't prevent a team from drafting a player at a position if he really is a good player, but if an impressive cornerback prospect is there, I don't envision the 49ers taking him.

Offensive line or defensive line seems like the best part in the first few rounds for them, then a cornerback on day three of the draft.


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Jose Sanchez

JOSE SANCHEZ