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PFF: 49ers have 2 of best 1st-round picks in last decade

How have the 49ers managed to keep their Super Bowl window open for as long as they have? Hitting on mid-to-late round draft picks helps, but so does knocking it out of the park with some first-round selections.

Pro Football Focus went back to 2015 and did a draft of the best first-round picks of the last decade at each draft slot. San Francisco has two picks on the list, including defensive end Nick Bosa at No. 2 and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk at No. 25.

Bosa was a layup first-round selection for the 49ers when the Arizona Cardinals passed on him to take quarterback Kyler Murray. He was chosen in the PFF draft instead of Texans quarterback CJ Stroud and Lions DE Aidan Hutchinson.

Via PFF:

Like Garrett, Bosa has been dominant since he entered the league. He has a Defensive Player of the Year award in his trophy case with elite PFF grades in almost every year of his career.

Aidan Hutchinson and C.J. Stroud are off to good starts, but Bosa is still far ahead because of his sustained level of elite play.

While Bosa was an easy pick for the 49ers, they get more credit for the Aiyuk choice since they moved up to get him in the 2020 draft. He was the best No. 25 selection of the past decade over Jaguars running back Travis Etienne and Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson.

Via PFF:

Aiyuk was an elite receiver in 2023, marking his second straight year of really good play.

Running back Travis Etienne has also been a strong player in his first two NFL seasons, and he belongs in the debate here. But Aiyuk has hit the elite grade high that Etienne hasn’t yet.

Former 49ers offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey was also in the mix for PFF at the No. 9 pick, but he lost out to Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II, who is now McGlinchey’s teammate.

It’s impressive San Francisco managed to have two players on the list and another in the running for a spot. They didn’t have any players from the 2015-17 drafts, which means in the past seven drafts they landed three players who were the best draft picks at their spots. It’s even more impressive when we consider that in 2022 and 2023 the 49ers didn’t have a first-round pick.

While the last several years have been kind to the 49ers in the first round, they need to continue hitting on picks in that area of the draft moving forward or they’ll have a tough time extending their Super Bowl window.

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire