The San Francisco 49ers came into the 2019 NFL Draft with a number of needs and at the end of Day Two, they’re on their way to filling them.
“I think a real productive day for the 49ers,” said general manager John Lynch. “…I think a common theme in this draft for us is guys that combine speed and power and versatility. I look at Nick [Bosa] and obviously he’s an edge player but has the ability to play the run and the pass and can play right and left and can beat you in a multitude of ways…When we saw Deebo Samuel…we just turned this guy’s game tape on and you see, I think, one of the elite competitors in college football this year. You’re going to have to fight. He’s going to fight for yards. I think that type of play…is contagious. He’s got real juice…And then, Jalen Hurd, a guy who, I think it’s so important that your coaches have a vision for how you’re going to use a player, and I think that’s something that became crystal clear and is every exciting.”
Hurd may be the most intriguing of the picks.
Hurd played the first three years of his college career as a running back at Tennessee, before the 6’4″, 217 lb. receiver transferred to Baylor for his new position.
“…[G]rowing up I was always kind of like the small, shifty, running back,” said Hurd. “I think eighth or ninth grade year, I went from 5-8 to 6-3 and I got tall through high school and ended up being probably around 6-5, freshman, sophomore year. Yeah, so I’ve always wanted to be a running back and I just want to be in a more versatile place and play a little bit longer, so receiver it was.”
Due to his size, Hurd could potentially play tight end and head coach Kyle Shanahan sees the versatility his new receiver, but he maintains that the 49ers did indeed draft him as a wide receiver.
“I mean, he can do about everything,” Shanahan said. “I mean, I think if he would have stayed a running back, I think he would have gotten drafted as an NFL running back. Today he got drafted as an NFL receiver, kind of. I believe if he tried to play tight end he would have gotten drafted as an NFL tight end. That’s a pretty unique thing to have. I don’t remember being able to say that about any player I’ve studied before. So, it’s neat to be able to do that and he can help us out in a lot of different ways.
“…He’s a receiver. There’s lots of neat things you can do with him. He’s not going to tight end every other day. There’s lots of possibilities with him and that’s the type of guy we drafted, but we drafted a receiver today. What’s neat about him is the stuff that we said. So, see how you guys, what you guys read into that.”
Hurd said that he had a procedure on his knee a few months back that Lynch confirmed was an issue with his meniscus, but the 49ers are not concerned.
“Jalen is dealing with a meniscus right now,” Lynch said. “He’s come out of it. He’s looked very good in his workouts. You know, when you look at Deebo, some lower leg things, but both of them we were comfortable with the medical and they are. I think all three of the guys we drafted thus far, aside from the speed and power, just very physical football players. So, the brand of football they play sometimes will lend to that. But, we are going to work with them to try to keep them all healthy and we really like those guys we got.”
Lynch said that Samuel and Bosa will be ready for rookie mini-camp and Hurd looked good in a private workout they had. His readiness for rookie mini-camp is to be determined.
This is Lynch and Shanahan’s third draft and it’s one in which they can see the roster coming together, especially at wide receiver.
“…[Y]ou look at our roster now and there’s definitely more than six NFL receivers, which is a really good problem to have,” Shanahan said. “You hope you have to cut someone you don’t want to cut who is going to go help another team, and the more you can start doing that, the more you know your organization is going to the right direction. That’s why this draft, we feel is a little bit harder for us than these last two years, offensively and especially defensively where you’re not just going to go draft a guy at any spot that you can say is going to make your team. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got a vision for him and that he can beat out the guys that you already have.”
The Draft wraps up tomorrow and the 49ers have three picks, with one in Round 4 (104th overall) and two in Round 6 (176th and 212th overall). They still need to address the issues in the secondary so stay tuned 49ers fans.