Tuesday, April 30, 2024

San Francisco 49ers 2024 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2024 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the San Francisco 49ers? What are they saying about the 49ers' 2024 draft haul?

NFL.com - Grade: B

Day 1 grade: B+
Day 2 grade: B-
Day 3 grade: B

Analysis: Pearsall's quickness and hands warranted first-round consideration, and the team needed a receiver with the potential trading away of Deebo Samuel or Brandon Aiyuk down the road. The 49ers could have also picked a cornerback or tackle at that spot. Green and Puni will contribute in areas of need, but trading up for Puni was a bit of a stretch. They did not re-sign Chase Young after sending a third to Washington at the deadline.

Mustapha, picked with the selection gained from Dallas for quarterback Trey Lance, should see time on defense and special teams as a rookie. The 49ers hope to get more from Guerendo than recent running back picks Trey Sermon and Tyrion Davis-Price. Cowing is small but crafty, and Kingston's guard/tackle versatility makes him a valuable backup.

ESPN - Grade: B-

Top needs entering the draft: Offensive tackle, cornerback, wide receiver

The 49ers' roster is solid from top to bottom, but I would have liked to see GM John Lynch bring in competition for right tackle Colton McKivitz, who allowed 11 sacks last season and also was a below-average run-blocker. That was San Francisco's biggest need in Round 1, in my eyes. Lynch went a different direction, reaching a little bit for Ricky Pearsall (31), my 10th-ranked wide receiver. Pearsall has great hands and will be an asset in the run game as a blocker, but there were better players available at the end of Round 1.

Then, the 49ers had the biggest reach of Round 2, selecting my No. 21 cornerback Renardo Green (64) about two rounds too high. That was a confusing one, as there were still some good corners on the board. I do like what Lynch & Co. did after that, though. Dominick Puni (86) has the potential to be a starting guard in time. Safety Malik Mustapha (124) is impressive in coverage and will be a dynamo on special teams. Running back Isaac Guerendo (129) ran a blazing 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the combine and averaged 6.1 yards per carry last season, though he had only one year of steady production. The 49ers traded Nos. 173 and 176 to get Gurerendo, so they must like him a lot.

Snagging Puni keeps the 49ers' grade out of C territory, though I do think Pearsall will be a good pro.

The Ringer - Grade: A-

THE 49ERS HAD THE DISADVANTAGE OF PICKING NEAR THE BACK OF THE ROUND FOR JUST ABOUT EVERY PICK THEY MADE, BUT IT DIDN'T SEEM TO MATTER MUCH. I like the haul the defending NFC champs brough away from this draft, a group that includes two playmaking receivers in Ricky Pearsall and Jacob Cowing. Pearsall boasts high-end route-running skills, great hands, and tons of toughness both at the catch point and as a blocker. Cowing, meanwhile, is electric, both deep down the field and when running away from defenders after the catch. San Francisco added talent to their secondary with the selections of cornerback Renardo Green and safety Malik Mustapha as well, the latter of whom I believe should've gone off the board a full round earlier. Mustapha is a rangy, hard-hitting safety who could be a big-time tone-setter for an already-excellent defense. Third-round offensive lineman Dominick Puni also brings the potential to start at guard early in his career.

USA Today - Grade: B

First-round Florida WR Ricky Pearsall and second-round Florida State CB Renardo Green have the ability to contribute heavily to another Super Bowl push while also being foundational pieces beyond 2024 — especially if Pearsall has to eventually replace former Arizona State teammate Brandon Aiyuk's production. Third-round OL Dominick Puni (Kansas) might also crack the rotation this season but many of the players might struggle to make this roster — one reason the Niners spun two of their 10 picks into future drafts.

Fox Sports - Grade: B-

The 49ers picked in the first round for the first time since moving up to take Trey Lance at No. 3 overall in the 2021 draft. Florida receiver Ricky Pearsall was somewhat of a surprise at No. 31, but he gives San Francisco another pass catcher who can operate in the slot and make plays over the middle of the field. The 49ers found a potential cover corner in the second round in Renardo Green and an explosive runner on Day 3 in Louisville's Isaac Guerendo. However, the 49ers needed offensive line help and didn't secure upgrades up front offensively until moving up in the third round to grab promising Kansas offensive lineman Dominick Puni, and later in Day 3 in USC offensive lineman Jarrett Kingston. San Francisco should have focused on this obvious need earlier in the draft. —Williams

CBS Sports - Grade: C+

Best Pick: Second-round corner Renardo Green fills a need and might be able to be their corner right away. Green had just one pick in college, but he is a playmaker and would fit in their scheme.

Worst Pick: First-round receiver Ricky Pearsall will be a good player, but I don't think he will ever be a star. There were better receivers left when they took him late in the first round.

The Skinny: The 49ers clearly are drafting for the future with Pearsall in the first -- or readying to trade one of their starters, either Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel. Third-round offensive lineman Dominick Puni could develop into a starter -- probably at guard. Green will be good value, while fourth-round receiver Jacob Cowing could be a sleeper.

Sporting News - Grade: C-

Analysis: The 49ers had a rare curious draft under John Lynch for many reasons. They added two more wide receivers despite not trading Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel and making plans to extend Jauan Jennings. They also took some luxury again at running back behind Christian McCaffrey in the speedy Guerendo. Puni and Mustapha are easily the best picks, and they project for depth at first. As a Super Bowl hopeful, there's nothing here that put loaded San Francisco over the top in relation to top NFC rivals.

SI - Grade: B

Analysis: Kyle Shanahan played wide receiver and evaluates the wide receiver class each year for the 49ers. He's had tremendous success at picking the position so far during his tenure as the team's coach, and Pearsall seems like a player who can also help San Francisco blend a little bit of McVay into the system by involving the versatile wideout into their blocking scheme intimately.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: B+

Whether the selection of Ricky Pearsall is supposed to keep the 49ers' offense straight after the potential trades of Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel is now a moot point, at least in the near term. Really, Pearsall is more of a slot/outside hybrid guy who knows how to get open in the Amon-Ra St. Brown mold, and there's nothing wrong with that. Perhaps the best pick in this draft for San Francisco is Renardo Green, who locked Pearsall down last season, and he also made Malik Nabers' life quite frustrating. Green didn't get a lot of love as a first-round talent, but the tape does not lie. Dominick Puni didn't allow a single sack in two years as Kansas' left tackle, though he's likely to kick inside to guard unless Kyle Shanahan sees him as the right tackle solution this offense desperately needs. Isaac Guerendo, who blew up the combine with his testing numbers, is a natural outside zone runner (thus fitting his new offense perfectly), and he'll be a valuable part of that running back rotation.

I also like Malik Mustapha as a frenetic downhill closer in the Talanoa Hufanga mold, and the 49ers found out last season that their defense doesn't work as well when Hufanga isn't in there.

As far as sleepers go, watch out for Arizona receiver Jacob Cowing, who is a smaller slot target with nice explosive play potential on go, seam, and over routes. The lack of a top-tier offensive tackle might sting a bit, and maybe more linebacker depth would be nice, but not a bad haul at all.

More: 2024 NFL Draft Grade Roundups