2024 NFL Draft Review: San Francisco 49ers

Review of all 32 teams draft, with grades and UDFA signings. This time it’s the San Francisco 49ers.
NFL Combine
NFL Combine / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

Previously we reviewed the Pittsburgh Steelers draft selections, now it’s time to take a look at how the San Francisco 49ers drafted and grade the picks. Which player was the best value and earned the team choice award, and who did the team sign during the undrafted free-agent period? Let’s break it all down.

1 (31): WR Ricky Pearsall, Florida

There were bigger needs on the shopping list for the 49ers but taking a wide receiver was still a position that expected to get addressed at some point in the draft. Pearsall started all 12 games last year and was a standout player on an offense that lacked tempo.

His 65 receptions for 965 receiving yards led the Florida Gators last season making him the clear number one offensive weapon. He also returned 11 punts for 126 yards adding more versatility. Talking of versatility, Pearsall also lined last season from a range of positions and his split playing out wide and from the slot was practically 50/50.

Ricky Pearsall
Florida State v Florida / James Gilbert/GettyImages

Grade: B+

(Team Choice Award)

2 (64): CB Renardo Green, Florida State

Cornerback was the biggest need for the 49ers but they may have overreached with this pick. Green was projected to go later in the fourth-round mostly due to his smaller size and his lower athletic traits. But neither of those things held him back while playing for the Seminoles and he shut down some very talented receivers (like Malik Nabers). He led Florida State last year in pass breakups (14) and his coverage skills are very apparent. There should be no doubt he starts this season, hopefully, he can keep pace and not create too many flags. 

Renardo Green
Virginia Tech v Florida State / Michael Chang/GettyImages

Grade: B-

3 (86): T Dominick Puni, Kansas

Another big need on the 49ers roster that needed to be filled was the offensive line. Puni is marked as a tackle, but position versatility is his biggest strength playing both tackle positions as well as left guard. While the 49ers experiment with the line this season we may see Puni take a starting role early, more than likely at guard.

But if any player should succumb to injury or not make the standards then Puni can roll right in. While playing in Kansas, Puni played 784 passing sets and allowed no sacks and only one quarterback hit. What's even crazier is that the sole quarterback hit happened in Week 3 of the 2022 season, since then he’s been clinical. 

Dominick Puni
NFL Combine / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Grade: B+

4 (124): S Malik Mustapha, Wake Forest

Here’s a reliable and solid strong safety who thrives on laying big hits. He’s an entertaining highlight watch purely on the fact he smacks ball carriers around like they’re going out of fashion. Is he getting a starting job in his rookie year? Never say never, but some things would have to happen for Mustapha to be that guy. While he waits patiently keep an eye on him while on special teams. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him downfield snagging returners quickly and being an ace in that regard. 

Malik Mustapha
NFL Combine / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Grade: A-

4 (129): RB Isaac Guerendo, Louisville

The 49ers spent two picks to trade up here and it’s a little head-scratching to unpack the process here. Guerendo more than likely makes it to the fifth-round meaning the 49ers wouldn’t have had to rinse through so much draft stock to take him. The other part is he only started in one game last year and is more than likely playing as the third running back on this roster.

So why did the 49ers make this move? The biggest part will be his athletic testing, which was off the charts. He registered a 40-yard time of 4.33s (98th percentile), a vertical jump of 41½" (97th percentile), a broad jump of 129" (95th percentile), and a 3-Cone of 6.94s (71st percentile). It was an insane combine from him. All that helped him produce a very healthy 6.1 yards-per-attempt last year, fourth-most in the ACC. 

Isaac Guerendo
DIRECTV Holiday Bowl - Louisville v USC / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

Grade: C

4 (135): WR Jacob Cowing, Arizona

Double dipping at the receiver position should tell 49ers fans about how anxious this coaching staff feels about the position going forward. Cowing is a slot-only guy which may concern some fans about the pick, but he’s a solid short-distance pass catcher who is great at all the underneath work, something that could work really well on this offense.

He needs to work on the dropped passes having registered 33 drops in the last five years. But he also makes plays and has scored 33 touchdowns for both UTEP and Arizona. Last year, both his receptions (90) and receiving touchdowns (13) ranked second-most in Pac-12.

Jacob Cowing
Utah v Arizona / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

Grade: B

6 (215): G Jarrett Kingston, USC

This is another overreach for a guy expected to be an undrafted free agent. But what makes this pick more odd is the fact they drafted Puni at the start of the draft, a player expected to play at guard. Kingston will add depth at the inside offensive line, which of course is great, but you have to wonder why another guard and not a tackle? Looking for a draft trend, Kingston is another guy the 49ers have drafted this year who tested fantastically at the combine. He annihilated the 40 with a dash time of 5.02s (93rd percentile) jumped a vertical of 31½" (88th percentile) and made a broad jump of 111” (92nd percentile). 

Jarrett Kingston
Washington v USC / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

Grade: B

7 (251): LB Tatum Bethune, Florida State

With the 49ers final pick, it’s back to Florida State for another defender. It’s actually not a bad pick here and aimed toward special teams again. Bethune will look to add depth at linebacker and play in rotation. He transferred to FSU in 2022 and since then he’s registered 142 tackles and 13 tackles for loss. For a seventh-round guy this far down, that’s a pretty smart pick. 

Tatum Bethune
2023 ACC Championship - Louisville v Florida State / Isaiah Vazquez/GettyImages

Grade: B

UDFA Signings- 

QB Tanner Mordecai, Wisconsin

WR Terique Owens, Missouri State

C Drake Nugent, Michigan

Overall Grade: B