2024 NFL Combine: Key Positions the 49ers Should Focus on Drafting

San Francisco 49ers

The first step for the San Francisco 49ers to improve themselves begins this week at the 2024 NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

This is the first time since 2021 that the 49ers will have a first round pick. It has to feel strange for them knowing they can actually dabble a bit in some of the higher end prospects. However, there are three positions that the 49ers must target and focus on the most. It begins and ends in the trenches.

Offensive guard

Finding excellent offensive guards can typically occur on day two, or even three, of the NFL draft. The 49ers will not be able to do that if they don’t invest a good chunk of time scouting the guards at the combine. It is time they finally find some promising players with the hope that they can step in and start, specifically at right guard. The 49ers have had to shuffle at right guard ever since Mike Person retired after the 2019 season.

They need to find someone they can place there for the long-term and forget about it instead of utilizing a platoon system at the position with Spencer Burford. Duke’s Graham Barton has been mentioned by NFL Network’s Daniel Jeramiah as well as Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson and West Virginia’s Zach Frazier. Perhaps that is where the 49ers can start this week.

Offensive tackle

It is undeniable that one of the worst starters for the 49ers this past year was right tackle Colton McKivitz. When Mike McGlinchey left in free agency last year, the 49ers really thought that McKivitz was their best solution for it. Now they look like fools for it as McKivitz could never manage a stretch of impressive games. Offensive tackle is one that the 49ers cannot do a patchwork with in free agency.

It is one where they need to ensure they have a long-term answer and the draft is where they should address it. They could even consider their future left tackle whenever Trent Williams decides to hang it up in a year or two. Players like Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton, Arizona’s Jordan Morgan, and Notre Dame’s Blake Fisher could be a start for the 49ers this week.

Defensive End

The 49ers haven’t had an impactful defensive end opposite of Nick Bosa since 2019 with Dee Ford. Every year they have struggled to find it. Drake Jackson was supposed to be the guy there, but it is pretty clear now that he will never get there. That means the 49ers have to roll up their sleeves and get to grinding it out on pass rushers at the scouting combine this week to finally find someone adequate.

If the 49ers can find that “Robin” to Bosa’s “Batman” then the 49ers will be cooking up some serious heat on defense. They are already a threatening unit as it is. Another strong edge rusher will only increase how lethal they are. Players like Alabama’s Chris Baswell, Penn State’s Adisa Isaac, and Washington’s Bralen Trice could be a start for the 49ers this week.

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