2021 NFL draft: 49ers make bet on athleticism

Kyle Madson
·1 min read

The 49ers’ eight-player draft class focused hard on improving their rushing attack, but it also focused on adding athleticism to the roster. According to ESPN Next Gen Stats, San Francisco’s draft class was tied for the fourth-most athletic.

That doesn’t come as a huge surprise given the positions the 49ers honed in on. They went with one of the draft’s most athletic quarterbacks in Trey Lance, picked up three defensive backs, two running backs and a pair of offensive linemen. One those offensive linemen, Western Michigan left tackle Jaylon Moore, is a terrific athlete.

The Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals had the highest athleticism scores at 86. The Carolina Panthers came in third with 82, while the 49ers and New York Jets tied with 80.

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Adding athletes is key in an NFL that’s relying more on speed than it ever has on both sides of the ball.

A key for the 49ers specifically is that they’re betting on athleticism with this class. Outside of offensive lineman Aaron Banks and running backs Trey Sermon and Eli Mitchell, there’s a chance none of the other players see real action beyond special teams work in Year 1.

Having high-level athletes to develop bodes well for the club’s future. Should their Year 1 starters work out and at least one of the other players develop into a starting-caliber player, San Francisco could be looking at a nice draft haul down the road.

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