Shanahan, Lynch buck 49ers drafting trends with 2021 picks


The 49ers entered the 2021 NFL Draft having picked a receiver in each of the previous 19 drafts, dating back to 2002.

The team would like to build some receiver depth behind Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, but of the eight picks this weekend, none of them were wideouts.

Interestingly enough, the 49ers’ brass spent draft capital focusing on other areas of the offense. Despite toting five running backs on the roster entering the draft, the 49ers still picked two more: Ohio State's Trey Sermon at No. 88 and Elijah Mitchell at No. 194.

We still have a few months until finding out who will start Week 1 under center for the team. Will it be No. 3 pick Trey Lance? Veteran Jimmy Garoppolo? Regardless, the signal-caller could use some more weapons in the passing game to help the team stay two-dimensional offensively.

Tight end George Kittle provides the 49ers one of the games top options through the air, but Samuel hasn’t proven he can stay on the field for a full season yet. Other receivers on the roster include free-agent veteran signees Mohamed Sanu and Travis Benjamin, along with Richie James, River Cracraft and Jalen Hurd.

That group isn’t exactly going to scare opposing defenses. 

The 49ers haven’t had a 1,000-yard wide receiver since Anquan Boldin totaled 1,062 in 2014, though Kittle caught 85 passes for 1,053 yards in 2019. Aiyuk led the squad with 60 catches, 748 yards and five touchdowns last season.

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The receiver streak wasn't the only draft streak that ended this weekend.

As David Lombardi of The Athletic noted, the 49ers didn’t pick a defensive lineman for the first time in the Kyle Shanahan/John Lynch era, which includes five drafts since 2017.

Once Shanahan went for a mobile passer instead of a pocket passer by picking Lance, we should have known this was going to be an unorthodox draft for the 49ers.

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