There is a consistent theme with the 49ers 2021 concept class. All but one picks fit into a similar number as a starter roll entering their rookie seasons.
It seems from the initial projections for each choice that San Francisco’s eye was towards 2022 and beyond when they made their choices, because the path to the beginning is messy for almost all of them.
They raised a quarterback, two offensive linemen, two running backs, two cornerbacks, and a safety. They have starters lined up for 2021, except for the right watch, where Aaron Banks has to step in in the second round. Beyond that, the starter reels should open en masse next year.
With that in mind, we’ve run through this year’s lesson to try and gauge the chances each player has of being the starter when the 49ers take the field.
One of the reasons the 49ers lined up Lance while holding Jimmy Garoppolo is that Garoppolo was able to start as Lance develops. There are several ways he could get his freshman year on the field, but it would take either a Garoppolo injury or a complete meltdown in camp for Lance to get a start below center.
Probability of starting: 8 percent
Using a top 50 pick on a guard means the team is relatively confident that they can solve their problem with the right guard. Starting at RG allows Daniel Brunskill to serve as an all-in-one reserve, pushing players like Colton McKivitz and Justin Skule further down to bolster their reserves up front. It would be a problem if Banks, the 48th overall choice, didn’t start.
Probability of starting: 91.4 percent
The 49ers’ use of running backs is a little different from normal. The sermon may not be getting credit for a start this year, but it should weigh a lot in their run game, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s their lead rusher by the end of the year.
Odds of it starting: 24 per cent
The rookie corners already have a steep hill to climb for a starting roll. San Francisco probably takes place in the starter spots with Jason Verrett, Emmanuel Moseley and K’Waun Williams. Things on the depth map then get shaky. Thomas had a great 2019 before retiring in 2020. If he picks up where he left off, he could be fourth turn and first off the bench if no starter is available.
The probability of it starting: 13 percent
The plan is to move Moore, a dominant leftist tackle in college, to the interior, where his 6-4, 311-pound frame will fit better in the NFL. It would be a good deal for San Francisco if Moore pushes for a starting RG job, especially if Banks is also playing well in camp. However, there are too many bodies up front for Moore to realistically have a chance to start outside the gate.
Probability of starting: 8.3 percent
Lenoir played out in college, but he plans to take the nickel angle role with the 49ers. K’Waun Williams has nailed that starting place, but Lenoir should contribute to special teams right away and could be the first penny off the bench if Williams crashes.
Probability of starting: 9 percent
Hufanga could have a huge impact on special teams in Year 1, but a starting job at Safety may not be in his near future. However, the 49ers are not extremely deep in that position, especially the strong safety spot where Hufanga wants to play. On the other hand, the team can consider him a Sam linebacker, which opens the door a bit for him to earn a starting job right away.
Probability of starting: 11 percent
Depth in the running back room was an issue for San Francisco last year. It won’t be this year. Mitchell is big, fast, and could fit the role of Raheem Mostert in the long run. There are just too many players for him entering the year to find out that he is the starter at some point.
Probability of starting: 3.8 percent