The 49ers put together a relatively small 2020 draft class thanks to a couple of trades that landed them rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk and veteran left tackle Trent Williams.
San Francisco went into the draft only needing a couple rookies to help with some depth. They wound up needing to lean on some of their picks more than they may have anticipated. How did those first-year players fare? We went through and gave Year 1 grades for each pick. Keep in mind these are only grades for this season and not a judgement of the pick as a whole.
Here they are:
Round 1, Pick 14 | DL Javon Kinlaw
(AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
The expectations for Kinlaw are all projections over the next two or three years. Any thought that he would step in right away and be as effective as DeForest Buckner was far-fetched. However, he took positives steps and started flashing more consistently throughout the year. The numbers weren’t super impressive – 33 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and 4 QB hits – but the splash plays like his pick-six against the Rams provided enough optimism for his future that it made up for a lack of statistical production in Year 1. Grade: C
Round 1, Pick 25 | WR Brandon Aiyuk
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Injury was perhaps the only thing stopping Aiyuk from perhaps the greatest debut season ever by a 49ers wide receiver. He hauled in 60 receptions for 748 yards and five touchdowns, and ran for 77 yards and two touchdowns on six carries. Aiyuk did most of that without Deebo Samuel lined up across from him and without George Kittle in the lineup. He also worked with backup quarterbacks for most of the year. That’s good from any player, much less one a team traded up for. The present was strong for Aiyuk, and his future is even brighter. Grade: A
Round 5, Pick 153 | OL Colton McKivitz
(AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Injuries thrust McKivitz into a starting right guard role faster than the 49ers probably anticipated. He spent his college career playing right tackle for West Virginia and hadn’t played guard before coming to the NFL. His pass blocking was up-and-down, but he struggled as a run blocker while San Francisco tried piecing together a right side of the offensive line. A full offseason of development will be crucial for McKivitz, and he’ll be in the mix to start at right guard going into camp. To land that job though he’ll need a big improvement from his rookie season. Grade: D
Round 6, Pick 190 | TE Charlie Woerner
(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Woerner made the team out of camp and played in 14 games. That’s not bad for a late sixth-round pick. However, his impact on offense was minimal after being touted as one of the best run-blocking tight ends in the draft. He played more than 25 percent of the snaps in just one game despite George Kittle and Jordan Reed both missing significant time with injuries. Woerner hauled in three passes for 33 yards and was a mostly sub-par blocker. He’s another player who should benefit from a full offseason to get stronger and learn the offense, but Year 1 wasn’t superb for him. Grade: D
Round 7, Pick 217 | WR Jauan Jennings
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, Pool)
Jennings didn’t make the team out of camp, but did wind up back on the practice squad. He sustained a bad hamstring tear that wound up sidelining him for most of the year. The projected wide receiver depth next season isn’t great for San Francisco, so Jennings should be able to come back and compete for a roster spot as long as he’s healthy. Grade: INC.
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