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San Francisco 49ers 2020 Draft Review: A Positive Look-Back

A San Francisco 49ers 2020 draft review is difficult to truly assess given the difficulties they had with injuries. For the entirety of the 2020 season, the San Francisco 49ers struggled with injuries and were never able to field a team at 100 percent. As a result, they were forced to pull on players from deep down in the depth chart. Due to the difficulties with COVID-19 and injuries mounting up, teams were having to pull on their rookie drafts more and more often. Luckily for the 49ers, some of their early-round picks have shown potential for the future.

San Francisco only had five picks in the draft, but two of them were in the first round. All five of their picks were acquired through trades and not one was an original San Francisco pick. Given that they only had five picks they had to hit with their two first-round picks and hope they found some talent in the later rounds. In this San Francisco 49ers 2020 draft review we look at the impact each draft pick had on the season.

San Francisco 49ers 2020 Draft Review: Day One

1.14 | Javon Kinlaw | DT | South Carolina

First up on the 49ers 2020 draft review is the replacement for DeForest Buckner. In the 2020 draft, there was only one defensive interior linemen selected before Javon Kinlaw. Derrick Brown went to the Carolina Panthers and his numbers were better than Kinlaws, but that was to be expected. Kinlaw"s numbers on the field left a lot to be desired. He played a total of 547 snaps and finished the season with 15 solo tackles but was only able to add 1.5 sacks. His best performances came in a three-week span across weeks 10-12. In Week 10 he amassed his 1.5 sacks as well as three quarterback hits against the New Orleans Saints. He added one solo tackle and assisted on another two.

After the bye week in Week eleven, the 49ers traveled to Los Angeles for a game against their divisional rivals, the Rams. Kinlaw only managed to assist on two tackles but he did add an interception that he returned for a touchdown. The 27-yard return was the first defensive score of his NFL career. 

Kinlaw showed flashes as to why John Lynch decided to take him with the 14th pick. Unfortunately, the flashes were few and far between. More often than not Kinlaw lined his pads up too low and found himself being dominated out of his gap. His other main issue was his inability to get to the quarterback. The lack of a plan on Kinlaws part meant that pass blockers were able to secure Kinlaw and prevent him from getting to the QB. 

John Lynch is a big fan of Kinalw and has previously compared him to Warren Sapp. Nick Bosa’s injury hampered Kinlaws output but with a full offseason and players returning from injury he could be in line for a big second year. Kinlaw ranked in the top five of interior rookie defensive linemen, not highly enough though given he was the 14th pick. 

1.25 | Brandon Aiyuk | WR | Arizona State

Brandon Aiyuk found himself as the sixth wide receiver taken in the first round of the 2020 draft. Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Jalen Reagor, and, Justin Jefferson all went ahead of him. During the offseason, Aiyuk injured his hamstring and was forced to sit out week one. Then, against the New York Jets in his NFL debut, Aiyuk struggled to come to terms with the NFL. He was targeted just three times and brought in two of them for 21 yards. 

In Week three, Aiyuk announced his name on the NFL stage. Against the New York Giants, Aiyuk brought in five receptions for 70 yards. He added 31 rushing yards on three attempts and the first touchdown of his career. Aiyuk played in 12 games through the seasons and surpassed the 100-yard receiving mark on two occasions. In Week seven, in a huge win against the New England Patriots Aiyuk had six catches for 115 yards. 

He would go on to finish the season with 748 receiving yards and five receptions in the endzone. He added a further two touchdowns in the running game. Given the number of injuries that the 49ers had to deal with, Aiyuk did well in his first year in the league. Aiyuk had 60 receptions and 71% of them went for first downs. On his 60 receptions, he averaged 4.8 yards after the catch. 

Despite playing the majority of the season without a starting quarterback, Aiyuk only had a drop percentage of 5.6%. If he can keep that number low, the San Francisco 49ers may have found themselves a star in the league. Only Justin Jefferson finished with more touchdowns than Aiyuk and his 748 yards were good for third amongst receivers taken in the first round. All of this makes Aiyuk easily the best player on this 49ers 2020 draft review.

49ers Draft Review: Day Three

5.153 | Colton McKivitz | OT | West Virginia

Colton McKivitz only started in three games for the 49ers this year. In two of the games he started, he played every snap on the offensive side of the ball. He played in six other games and surpassed 20 snaps in four of them. In the run game, McKivitz was far better as he only blew 1.6 percent of his blocks. Compared to 3.3 percent in the passing game. 

As the season went on, McKivitz got better and better. If he can get a strong offseason under his belt then he could easily become a starter for the 49ers in 2021. There is a lot of work to be put in before that will happen, though.

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6.190 | Charlie Woerner | TE | Georgia

In the sixth round, the 49ers selected a tight end from Georgia. Charlie Woerner was selected to play as a blocking tight end and back up to George Kittle. With Kittle ahead of you and a Kyle Shanahan offense, he would have known his role would be limited to very few catches and a lot of blocking. Despite the injuries to George Kittle and Jordan Reed, it took Woerner until Week 13 to even secure his first NFL catch.

He would only go on to finish the season with three receptions on four targets for a total of 36 yards. Only getting 117 snaps, Woerner improved as the year went on but it was still a small sample size to truly assess him on. A year ago, no one expected that the 49ers 2020 draft review would feature Woerner as a success story, but the team had to be hoping for more than this.

7.217 | Jauan Jennings | WR | Tennessee

Last up in the San Francisco 49ers 2020 draft review is Jauan Jennings. After being drafted in the seventh round, Jauan Jennings found himself as a casualty when the 53-man roster was finalized. Cut by the team but then signed to the practice squad, Jennings wouldn’t feature at all for the 49ers in 2020. 

Overall, it is a positive 49ers 2020 draft review. San Fransisco did well with their five picks. They got an extremely talented wide receiver and others who have shown enough promise that they should be happy to roll the dice with again in 2021.

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