49ers 2024 NFL Draft Recap: Picks, Fit, Grades

Apr 30, 2024, 11:00 AM | Updated: 1:32 pm

Renardo Green #8 of the Florida State Seminoles reads the backfield during a football game against ...

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Now that the dust has finally settled, it’s time to look at the San Francisco 49ers’ 2024 NFL Draft Class.

The 49ers ended up using eight selections in this year’s draft, adding to both the offense and defense. And while some sent shockwaves through 49ers Faithful, most of them appear to be good picks after the fact.

Below are is the selection order for the 49ers’ 2024 NFL Draft:

  • Round 1, No. 31
  • Round 2, No. 64 (Trade with Kansas City Chiefs)
  • Round 3, No. 86 (Trade with Philadelphia Eagles)
  • Round 4, No. 124 (via Dallas Cowboys)
  • Round 4, No. 129 (Trade with New York Jets)
  • Round 4, No. 135
  • Round 6, No. 215 (compensatory)
  • Round 7, No. 251

There’s no telling the future for any of these draftees, but let’s examine each pick and how they could fit into coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad for 2024, and beyond.

The Picks

Round 1, Pick 31 (31st overall): Ricky Pearsall

Position: Wide Receiver

College: Florida 

Grade: B+

Comp: Julian Edelman

Ceiling: Adam Thielen

Floor: Braxton Berrios

While it was a shock to many, Ricky Pearsall is a perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

Pearsall, 23, is a five-year college player, spending three seasons at Arizona State University, before transferring to Florida for his final two years. The Arizona native amassed 2,420 receiving yards, 159 catches and 14 touchdowns in 55 games. Pearsall has the ability to play in a variety of roles, both on the outside and the slot. He is also well versed in special-teams, known as a dynamic punt returner.

Additionally, Pearsall was college teammates with Brandon Aiyuk at Arizona State, spending the 2019 season together. Now five years later, the pair have been reunited in the NFL on the 49ers.

Presumably, this would mean BA is staying in Red & Gold long-term. Both men (Pearsall and Aiyuk) are younger than Deebo Samuel, have better durability, and more effective as route runners for quarterback Brock Purdy.

Behind Aiyuk and Samuel is only Jauan Jennings, in terms of players that can rival him for meaningful snaps next season. Sure, he’ll have to prove it this offseason and training camp, but Pearsall has he makings of being SF’s No.3 (and more) for years to come.

“I had him as my fifth best receiver in this draft,” Brian Baldinger said about Pearsall. “He catches everything to me. He’s a bigger, faster Julian Edelman. He could just rule the middle of the field.”

It wasn’t a postion of concern for SF like offensive line is, which is why it gets a B grade. However, adding a do-it-all outlet for Purdy isn’t the worst way to go for a team trying to win a Super Bowl.

Round 2, Pick 32 (64th overall): Renardo Green

Position: Cornerback

College: Florida State

Grade: A-

Comp: Injury-Free Jason Verrett

Ceiling: Kenny Moore III

Floor: Ronald Darby

The 49ers drafted a dawg in Renardo Green.

Renardo Green, 23, played five seasons at Florida State, spending time at outside cornerback, safety and nickel. He racked up 148 tackles, 22 pass break-ups, one interception and one forced fumble in 41 games played. He is well-versed in press coverage as well, spending 322 snaps over the last two seasons there (third most in the FBS). The Florida native finished with a 86.4 courage grade from Pro Football Focus, third amongst ACC CBs.

He posted a 4.49 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, with a 1.53 10-yard split. Green is known for his instincts and intangibles, playing like a hard-nosed defender in the secondary.

Green will have to work on becoming a complete player in Year 1, learning both man and zone concepts at the NFL level. DB coach Daniel Bullocks will help with that. If the Florida native can stay consistent early, it’s very possible he’s starting Week 1 of the 2024 regular season.

He’ll have to beat out some journeymen CBs in Isaac Yiadom, Rock Ya-Sin and Ambry Thomas. That may be too tall a task early on. But, by the time the postseason rolls around, expect him to have a prominent role in Nick Sorensen’s aggressive defense.

Round 3, Pick 23 (86th overall): Dominick Puni

Position: Offensive Lineman

College: Kansas

Grade: B

Comp: Mike Iupati

Ceiling: Starter

Floor: Practice Squad

Hey look, an offensive lineman goes to San Francisco. And they traded up with the Philadelphia Eagles to do so.

Dominick Puni, 24, played two seasons at Kansas, spending time across the line of scrimmage. He played primarily at tackle and guard over 25 consecutive starts. Punt did not allow a single sack in that timeframe (nearly 1,600 snaps). Prior to that, he spent time at division-two Central Missouri.

The 49ers have needed to draft an offensive lineman (or two) since the end of Super Bowl LVIII. Now they add more in Puni, with the team envisioning him as a swing player on the line. He will mainly be considered an NFL guard however.

Which is totally fine for the 49ers, who badly need to improve their interior line play. Spencer Burford took a step back in Year 2 (50.4 Pro Football Focus grade), which led to Jon Feliciano stepping in midseason.

If Puni can at least provide competition across the interior for the starters, that will be a win with this pick. He has all the traits to be a starter or more, it may just take a little time with run-game coordinator Chris Foerster.

Round 4, Pick 24 (124th overall): Malik Mustapha

Position: Safety

College: Wake Forest

Grade: B+

Comp: Donte Whitner

Ceiling: Donte Whitner

Floor: Karl Joseph

This is a John Lynch pick if I’ve ever seen more.

Mustapha, 23, was a second-team All-American last season for Wake Forest. He racked up 80 tackles, five tackles for loss, two pass break-ups and one interception in 12 starts in 2023.

SF needed to add a Tashaun Gipson replacement and did that with this pick. Mustapha seems more pro-ready than a lot of secondary prospects, simply because he excels at the 49ers’ style of play.

Translation: He hits, he hits hard.

Training Camp will tell us how polished he is, and if he’s ready to be spot-starter Week 1. Ji’Ayir Brown had a great rookie season, while Talanoa Hufanga is coming back from a torn ACL.

It’s quite possible the UCF alum sees a lot of snaps as a rookie.

Round 4, Pick 29 (129th overall): Isaac Guerendo

Position: Running Back

College: Louisville 

Grade: B-

Comp: Steven Ridley

Ceiling: Doug Martin

Floor: Alfred Blue

Isaac Guerendo, 23, is a five-year player in college, starring for Wisconsin and Louisville. His final year was with the latter, racking up 810 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in 14 games played. He also has receiving chops, with 234 receiving yards last season.

A nice change-of-pace halfback for Shanahan, one that can run through or take the top of a defense. SF has wanted more versatile RBs behind Christian McCaffrey. Both Jordan Mason and Elijah Mitchell have worked on that part of their games, but it’s not their bread-and-butter.

Maybe that’s Guerendo’s role in Year 1. Or, maybe it’s more if injuries start to pile up.

My only problem with the pick is trading up to take a player at a position with less value. Sure, he might be a good RB, but how many snaps is he seeing with CMC in front of him?

Round 4, Pick 35 (135th overall): Jacob Cowing

Position: Wide Receiver

College: Arizona 

Grade: B+

Comp: Tank Dell

Ceiling: Christian Kirk

Floor: Jakeem Grant

I was a big fan of the pick in the moment, and still am moving forward.

Jacob Cowing, 23, is a five-year college player, starring at UTEP and Arizona. He played his final two years at the latter, racking up 1,882 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns in that timeframe. He is extremely durable as well, not missing a game in all five seasons.

His stature may have contributed to his draft slide (5’8″, 168 lbs), but the Red & Gold will have a role for the playmaker.

It’s quite possibly he’s the 49ers’ kick returner for 2024, especially with the new kick-off rules in place. It’ll be a fight to get real minutes at wide receiver however, with at least five players ahead of him on the depth chart. And that’s not counting Ronnie Bell.

Even still, the 49ers took him in the first round for a reason, probably seeing him as the next Marquise-Goodwin-type for Shanahan’s offense. A true burner downfield if you will.

But, he’ll have to get through the doghouse first, and that could take the majority of his rookie year.

Round 6, Pick 39 (215th overall): Jarrett Kingston

Position: Offensive Lineman

College: USC

Grade: B-

Comp: Andrew Voorhees

Ceiling: Starter

Floor: Practice Squad

It’s a reach, but at a position they needed more bodies for.

Jarrett Kingston, an Anderson, California native, played both right guard and right tackle at the former PAC-12 powerhouse. He played in 19 contests the last two seasons in Southern California. Prior to that, he played 13 games for Washington State University in 2021. While is measurables are a bit subpar, his athleticism jumps out, running a 5.02 40-yard dash with a 1.73 10-yard split.

Kingston will likely be converted to a guard or center at the next level, a need for the 49ers long-term.

The NorCal native will be a work in progress for Foerster in 2024, with game time very limited after the preseason. But, his athleticism does give him a chance to compete, especially if he learns the system quickly.

What seems more likely, however, is that he spends Year 1 on the practice squad in development.

Round 7, Pick 31  (251th overall): Tatum Bethune

Position: Linebacker

College: Florida State 

Grade: C+

Comp: Kyle Hamilton

Ceiling: Dre Greenlaw

Floor: Practice Squad

With the final pick of the 49ers 2024 draft class, they take a linebacker.

Tatum Bethune was a five-year player in college, starring for UCF and FSU. He played three seasons with the former, and his final two years with the latter. Bethune racked up 339 tackles, 7.5 sacks, ten pass break-ups and four interceptions in five seasons. He has played 61 games as well, showing his durability over a long period of time.

The hope for Bethune is that he has a Dre-Greenlaw-esque ascension in the NFL, which feels way too bullish for my expectations. But he does play violent, a requirement for the 49ers’ physical LB corps.

Don’t love the selection though when DE Gabriel Murphy was sitting there waiting to hear his name called. A pass rusher was more of a need than linebacker for SF, considering how heavy they went in that direction last draft.

Key offseason dates for the San Francisco 49ers

  • May 13-15 – Rookie Minicamp
  • May 20-21, May 23, May 28-29, May 31–OTAs
  • June 4-6 Mandatory Minicamp

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