These are the three biggest needs the 49ers should address in the 2019 NFL Draft
Nick Bosa visited the 49ers’ facility Thursday, according to a report from NFL Network, roughly two weeks before he could officially join the team as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Bosa, the Ohio State pass rusher, is the favorite to be selected by San Francisco on April 25, assuming the Arizona Cardinals go the expected route by taking Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. That would allow the 49ers to land another possible star pass rusher after trading for Chiefs Pro Bowler Dee Ford last month.
The 49ers have become familiar with Bosa. They met with him at the scouting combine and shared a meal following his Ohio State Pro Day on March 20. His official visit this week is his third known meeting with the club.
The team might simply be trying to get to know Bosa better, or continue to do background research on his medical history.
Bosa, considered the best defensive prospect available, comes with one major question mark: durability. He appeared in only three games for the Buckeyes last season after suffering a core muscle injury that required surgery. Bosa has said the injury was season ending, though many speculated he could have rejoined Ohio State for a late-season run toward the College Football Playoff. He also suffered a partially torn ACL to end his high school career in 2015.
He returned to the field in 2016 and logged five sacks in 12 games as a freshman for Ohio State. He finished his college career with 17.5 sacks in 47 games, including four in three games last season.
Bosa isn’t the only notable draft prospect the 49ers are hosting for one of their 30 official pre-draft visits this week. They’ll also welcome Iowa tight end Noah Fant, as first reported by Sirius XM NFL Radio.
San Francisco has become familiar with the Iowa program and its players. Second-year pro George Kittle was a breakout star last season, breaking the NFL record for receiving yards by a tight end with 1,377. The 49ers also have Hawkeye alums at quarterback with C.J. Beathard and cornerback Greg Mabin.
The 49ers finished with the league’s worst red-zone offense last season, which could lead to adding another big weapon for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the draft. Coach Kyle Shanahan has noted the team is also looking for another receiver after deciding not to bring back veteran Pierre Garçon.
Fant (6-foot-4, 249 pounds) is unlikely to be taken by the 49ers with the No. 2 pick. But he might be in play for the team’s second selection at No. 36 overall in the second round. Or, San Francisco might have to trade up from the second round to get Fant, whom many expect to go in Round 1.
Fant performed well at the NFL scouting combine. He tested in the 95th percentile or above among tight ends in the 40-yard dash (4.5 seconds), vertical jump (39.5 inches), broad jump (127 inches) and three-cone drill (6.81). Iowa teammate and fellow tight end T.J. Hockenson is also projected to be a first-round pick.
The 49ers may add a tight end in the draft because reserve Garrett Celek, who turns 31 in May, is entering the final year of his contract.