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San Francisco 49ers 2023 mock drafts: Who ESPN, CBS, PFF,, more have them selecting

The 2023 mock drafts are in for the 49ers. Which selections are most feasible?

NFL Combine
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - FEBRUARY 28: General manager John Lynch of the San Francisco 49ers speaks to the media during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on February 28, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

With the 2023 NFL Draft just around the corner, mock draft experts are providing their opinions on who the San Francisco 49ers may select with their first pick (third round) on Thursday, April 27 and beyond. Here, we’ll analyze those picks and provide insights on the consensus mock selections for the 49ers in the upcoming draft.

Third round consensus

Kiper/McShay dueling mock: Joey Fisher, OT/G, Shepherd; YaYa Diaby, DE, Louisville; Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, CB, TCU
Matt Miller: Ji’Ayir Brown, S, Penn State; Carter Warren, OT, Pittsburgh; Brenton Strange, TE, Penn State
Ryan Wilson: Kyu Blu Kelly, CB, Stanford; Wanya Morris, OT, Oklahoma; Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State
Chad Reuter: Blake Freeland, OT, BYU; Zach Harrison, EDGE, Ohio State; Jartavius Martin, CB, Illinois

Still without a first round selection in 2023 (due to moving up for Trey Lance in 2021), the 49ers will not be on the clock until pick No. 99 overall. From there, San Francisco will make two of the next three total selections, drafting at No. 101 and 102, respectively. At the moment, the most glaring positional team needs are right tackle, cornerback, edge rusher, tight end and safety.

I’m sure you saw this past season’s NFC Championship game between the 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles, so it should come as no surprise that bolstering the right side of the offensive line is a priority for S.F. Their starting right tackle of the last four years, Mike McGlinchey (who the team selected ninth overall back in 2018), recently joined the Denver Broncos, while tight end depth behind the All-Pro George Kittle is also lacking.

The 49ers were powered behind their defense in 2022-23, but with key departures in the secondary, there is absolutely room for improvement—especially on the outside at corner. The defensive front in San Francisco is rather intimidating, and the addition of DT Javon Hargrave only builds on that, but the red & gold would do well to add another pass rusher opposite reigning NFL DPOY Nick Bosa.

In analysis of the various draft experts’ insights, half chose to address the secondary first while the other half provided strength along the O-line. Ryan Wilson’s selection of Kyu Blu Kelly (CB - Stanford) makes for a cohesive fit both schematically and culturally. Of course, the 49ers have a long established relationship with the Cardinal, given the location proximity and number of shared personnel through the years. Regardless, Kelly would fit well with the San Francisco defense, one that will be led by Steve Wilks in 2023-24.

Chad Reuter’s approach to the 2023 draft also caught my eye. On the offensive side, Blake Freeland (OT - BYU), who actually played some quarterback in high school, is among the most athletic big men available. Notably, Freeland set the NFL Combine record for an offensive linemen with a 37-inch vertical jump. Standing at 6-foot-8, 300+ pounds, Freeland has an NFL build, but could do well to beef up for the physical play on Sundays.

Via Matt Miller, Ji’Ayir Brown (S - Penn State) also makes schematic sense for the 49ers. The New Jersey native came to the Nittany Lions from Lackawanna CC. With solid all-around ball skills and athleticism, Brown ascended to eventually be named the 2023 Rose Bowl Defensive MVP the last time we saw him play. On that night, he had 8 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a pick. With Jimmie Ward (who was the longest tenured 49er before recently departing) now in Houston, Brown makes complete sense for S.F.

Though it may not be entirely clear who will be available for San Francisco when their time comes at pick No. 99, their intended direction seems evident. As we know, this is a team that has enough talent to make a deep postseason run—they’ll need to act deliberately over the next couple weeks address the glaring weakness on the right side of the O-line and in the secondary.