Dynasty fantasy football is a year-round affair. A sharp manager will always think about all aspects of the dynasty season. Managers keen enough to look ahead will be the ones who can grab themselves an edge. This article is about the shocking and soap opera-like San Francisco 49ers. Their off-season will be an adventure to watch to see if they genuinely do hand the starting quarterback reigns to Brock Purdy after he led the team on nine straight wins and to the NFC Championship after being selected with the last pick in the NFL Draft in 2022. Plus, what happens with Trey Lance? The 49ers are in an enviable spot, though, with multiple startable rookie quarterbacks.
Most of the dynasty off-season will be spent discussing incoming rookies and the related topic, the NFL draft. It is easy for us to fall in love with the next workhorse running back or prototypical alpha wide receiver, but a manager in tune with the entire draft class will find themselves ahead of the game. Whether it is the next road-paving interior offensive lineman or genetic freak edge rusher, we can find ourselves at quite the advantage in April by building an entire picture of how the 2023 class will play out. Those that prepare ahead will not often be surprised at the outcomes. Look at the Chiefs or Eagles. They have a ton of depth. This allowed them to outlast the rest of the competition and compensate for any injuries.
The draft order used in this article reflects the order following the Super Bowl. Credit for the mock draft simulation goes to The Draft Network. Team needs are generated from this site.
2022 Season Recap
The San Francisco 49ers had a whirlwind of a season in 2022. They encountered problems that rarely affect a team that makes it to the NFC Championship Game. Nor does a team usually have so much success despite injuries to so many key players. Of course, it helps when you acquire the best running back in the league in Christian McCaffrey. Yet, the team made up for injuries to Trey Lance, Jimmy Garappolo, Brock Purdy, Deebo Samuel, and many more. The 49ers somehow survived having to start their third string and Mr. Irrelevant draft pick, Purdy. Yet, they didn’t just survive; they thrived. Purdy established himself as the leading contender to be the team’s new franchise quarterback after winning nine games in a row to end the season and taking them to the NFC Championship Game.
He, unfortunately, blew out his elbow in that game and is now recovering from surgery. However, the word from the 49ers is that Purdy will be ready to go for Week One or by Week Four at the latest. Plus, they keep referring to him as the leading contender, which spells trouble for Lance. Did he cost the team three first-round picks to be trade bait or a backup? They’re lucky they got Purdy, as the bust of Lance would cost many GMs and coaches their jobs. Of course, Lance hasn’t wholly busted yet, but he’s not stayed healthy either.
The 49ers saw amazing play from everyone on their defense, led by Nick Bosa and Fred Warner, and saw the rise of a new star safety in Talanoa Hufanga. And Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk saw a resurgence of elite play under Purdy’s time. The 49ers may well have entered the Purdy reign.
2023 Free Agents
The San Francisco 49ers have had an eventful free agency period. They’ve made some impact and huge signings while losing some key contributors. The most significant loss in free agency was right tackle Mike McGlinchey signing with the Broncos. The team knew they would lose him after giving left tackle Trent Williams a huge extension. The team also lost quarterback Garappolo and edge rushers Samson Ebukam and Charles Omenihu to other teams. They knew they were going to lose those guys and planned for it. One guy they weren’t planning to lose was Jimmie Ward, who now becomes the starting safety for the Texans. They lost a starting cornerback, Emmanuel Moseley, to the Lions and linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair to the Titans. Also going to the Titans is tackle Daniel Brunskill. They lost a ton of talent in free agency.
However, they also added some huge names and guys that will greatly impact the team next year. They kept center Jake Brendel and signed a key guard in Jon Feliciano. The team re-signed tight end, Ross Dwelley. They reinforced their cornerback room with the signing of Isaiah Oliver. Plus, they gave their team some veteran and healthy quarterback depth with Sam Darnold coming aboard. Yet, the biggest signing was defensive tackle Javon Hargrave. Adding him to pass-rushers Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead makes for an unfair defensive line. This team’s defensive pressure will continue to wreak havoc across the NFL. The San Francisco 49ers lost a lot of talent, but they still have plenty to push further all-in on the elusive Super Bowl ring.
2023 Draft Picks
The team needs are plentiful, with a huge need at right tackle, cornerback, and safety. They also need another receiving tight end to take some load off of Kittle, and it would be wise to add another edge rusher after losing Ebukam. Plus, the team can never have enough offensive line depth or linebackers.
3.99 – Carter Warren, OT Pittsburgh
The 49ers lost Mike McGlinchey and must replace him on the edge of the offensive line. They get one of the last startable rookies at tackle in Warren. He probably would be best served to sit year one or half the season, but he won’t cost the team games, especially when they can protect Warren with Kittle, LaPorta, or even Dwelley. Right now, Warren is a far better pass-protector than a run-blocker. That can be easily fixed if they can cure him of some technical issues and help him drive blockers back in the rushing game.
The ability to pass block will allow Warren an easier path to playing time and adjust to the NFL quicker. Plus, this enables the 49ers not to put a guard or high-upside potential player at tackle. The 49ers are in it to win this year and can’t avoid a black hole at right tackle.
3.101 – Sam LaPorta, TE Iowa
The San Francisco 49ers need to find a running mate to take some of the workload off Kittle’s shoulders. The 49ers need Kittle to stay healthy to utilize him in the receiving game consistently. In comes LaPorta, who should become a quality starter down the line but can help with the blocking scheme immediately. Plus, he’s got great hands and route-running ability. To make things even better, LaPorta comes from the same college that Kittle came from. The 49ers could strike lightning twice from the same bottle. LaPorta will be a key receiver in the red zone and in games that Kittle misses. No longer will the 49ers have to worry about who will replace Kittle in the offense during those games.
3.102 – Ji’Ayir Brown, S Penn State
So, the San Francisco 49ers lose Jimmie Ward but gain a new long-term starting safety opposite Hufanga? That’s a win. Brown has been comped to Ryan Clark. He can be even better, especially with his versatile skill set. Brown can play deep or in the box, cover the slot, and provide speed and explosiveness at each spot. Brown has the motivation and awareness to make all the plays on the field. He also has a knack for interceptions, with ten over the last two seasons. Brown can become another talented ball-hawk and intense tackling machine for the San Francisco 49ers’ defense.
5.155 – Andrew Vorhees, IOL USC
The 49ers get a massive steal by drafting a player with Day Two skills on Day Three because he tore his ACL at the combine. That means that Jason, no, sorry, Andrew will likely miss his whole rookie season, yet that didn’t stop him from doing 38 bench press reps with a torn ACL. However, the 49ers would get a starting guard-caliber player late in the season or next year. That’s a cheap player they can plug into their offensive line and not spend more money on. The USC guard is a proven player who would’ve gone 50 or more picks earlier had he not been hurt.
5.164 – Byron Young, EDGE Tennessee
The 49ers lost a few pass rushers this off-season and only brought in the disappointing Clelin Ferrell. Perhaps the San Francisco 49ers want someone with a bit more long-term upside and the path to starting opposite Nick Bosa someday. They take Young, who has an explosive first step and many disruptive play abilities. He will be older, 25, but can play right away. The 49ers will love that he’s a motivated, strong player with elite hustle and determination. Young would give them a twitchy player that can be coached into making huge plays for their defense. Plus, it’s not like the 49ers won’t draft a guy for their defensive line. That’s their money-making line.
5.173 – Jay Ward, CB LSU
The 49ers need a cornerback that can help replace the loss of Emmanuel. In comes Ward, who can stay on the perimeter but play nickel or even safety. That versatility is beloved in San Fran so that they can mold him into a dependable starter. Ward can do man or zone coverage, is adequate in his route anticipation, and knows how to make good tackles. If Ward can fix his penalty issues and build more strength, he has all the talent and mold-ability to become a starting cornerback or nickel back for the San Francisco 49ers’ vaunted defense.
6.216 – Anfernee Orji, LB Vanderbilt
The 49ers lost Al-Shaair to free agency and replaced him here with a guy who can start on special teams immediately. Orji is a tested linebacker that survived the tough SEC with great agility and blitz skills. He can become a developmental starter and learn from two studs in Warner and Greenlaw.
7.222 – Puka Nacua, WR BYU
The 49ers don’t ignore the wide receiver room in this draft and go for a big-play downfield threat in Nacua. He’s a strong jump-ball and contested catch receiver who consistently uses his hands to beat press coverage. Plus, he’s got excellent speed to be another rushing weapon out of the wide receiver room that Shanny can use to give Deebo a break. Nacua could be another yards-after-catch monster, especially from the slot for Purdy and company.
7.247 – Daniel Scott, S Cal
The 49ers need help in the secondary and are adept at finding guys that fall in the draft. Scott’s an experienced defensive back that’s played in multiple systems and can tackle well and cover guys. Plus, he’s got an elite football IQ and all the talent to be a standout special teams player.
7.253 – Noah Daniels, CB TCU
San Francisco continues to fill out their depth in the secondary and on special teams by drafting a player that helped lead TCU to the College Football Championship last year. He’s an older player that probably doesn’t have a ton of upside, but Daniels can still play well.
7.255 – Alex Forsyth, IOL Oregon
The 49ers can’t forget to continue building their offensive line and getting a developmental center/guard that can provide coverage in case of injury. Yes, the 49ers signed a center to a big deal, but Forsyth plays with technique and isn’t likely to fail as a strong backup. It’s a solid depth pick for a team that uses more depth than most other teams.
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As always, May the Force be with you…