Adding TE Brock Wright would dramatically change 49ers draft needs

The 49ers made an intriguing free agency play by signing Lions restricted free agent TE Brock Wright to an offer sheet. It was a signal that the team not only recognizes its obvious need on their TE depth chart. but that they’re also hopeful to fill it with a veteran they trust to take TE2 snaps right away. Doing so would alter their needs in this year’s draft, where adding a TE was relatively high on the priority list.

San Francisco is in a little bit of a strange spot with their tight end room. George Kittle is coming off an All-Pro campaign and didn’t shown a ton of signs of slowing down in his Age 30 season. They don’t really need a starter, so typically they’d be able to wait later in the draft to find a player they like.

However, with only 2023 third-round pick Cameron Latu and 2023 seventh-round pick Brayden Willis on the roster, it stands to reason San Francisco might want to find a player they trust more to take between 25-30 percent of the snaps in 2024. That’s where a higher draft pick would come in, since an earlier selection could net them a more pro-ready prospect.

Wright changes the calculus on all of that if the 49ers are able to secure him in restricted free agency.

With Wright backing up Kittle, the 49ers’ need at TE in the draft only goes as far as they believe (or don’t believe) Latu and Willis can develop into contributors. Given that Latu didn’t play his rookie year because of an injury and Willis played only sparingly on offense, it stands to reason San Francisco would give them both opportunities to compete in their second seasons. Wright’s experience and production as a blocker and pass catcher would open the door for the 49ers to give that duo some runway they may not have without a veteran above them on the depth chart.

If the Lions choose to match San Francisco’s offer sheet for Wright, it would make sense for the 49ers to head back into the free agent TE market. If they don’t go the free agent route though, we can put TE right back up near the top of the 49ers’ positional needs heading into the 2024 draft.

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire