Mel Kiper Jr. scratches head over 49ers’ first-round Pearsall pick

The 2024 NFL draft is in full swing the day after the opening round that saw the first 32 players learn their new homes in the professional ranks. The annual event always brings a few twists and turns, and this year was no different.

With the 31st pick, the San Francisco 49ers made Florida Gators wide receiver Ricky Pearsall a first-round selection, a surprise move that was both welcomed and puzzling. The standout pass-catcher began the draft season much further down the board, but his stock rose over the past few months.

However, many members of the media were befuddled by the selection, questioning Pearsall’s talent in relation to those he leapfrogged as well as the issues the Niners’ franchise is dealing with in the wideout room.

ESPN football analyst Mel Kiper Jr. weighed in with his take afterward, opining on both of those issues in his winners, losers and values column.

“This one makes you wonder what’s going on with Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, right? Could the 49ers have more moves coming?” Kiper asks.

“In the end, though, I had Pearsall ranked below both Xavier Legette, Keon Coleman and Adonai Mitchell, all of whom were still available at the end of Round 1. Pearsall lit up the combine with his testing numbers, and he could be a better pro than college player. He’s my No. 10 wideout.”

The second round kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. ET, and the draft concludes on Saturday starting at noon ET. NFL Network, ESPN, ABC and ESPN Deportes will carry the event; coverage is also available to stream live on NFL+.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire