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A productive free agency period has given the 49ers options with the No. 2 overall pick in April’s draft.
For months, it was believed that the team would select the top edge rusher — a title belonging to Ohio State’s Nick Bosa — to address San Francisco’s struggling pass rush. Last week, however, the 49ers traded for Dee Ford, who led the NFL with seven forced fumbles and 78 quarterback pressures in 2018. Bosa may still be the team’s top target. He has been considered the best prospect in the 2019 draft for some time.
But the presence of Ford creates draft-day possibilities for the 49ers.
“In terms of what we did, it gave us flexibility,” Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area Wednesday at Ohio State’s Pro Day. “We had some ideas of areas where we had to get better. And what we did gave us flexibility to just focus on going out and getting the best player available, particularly with that top spot, regardless of the position.”
The 49ers brass met with arguably the top two prospects in this year’s draft earlier this week: Bosa and Alabama’s Quinnen Williams. Both players had their pro days this week.
“I think it’s good to be out for a number of reasons,” Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area. “The schools we visited the last couple of days, Alabama and Ohio State, I don’t think they’re going anywhere. They’re going to be producing players, so it’s good to continue to foster those relationships that we can help them and they can help us. And it’s really invaluable to just spend time with these guys.”
Williams is considered the draft’s top defensive tackle. Adding him would create a logjam among the 49ers interior, where DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, and Solomon Thomas all play. The 49ers could entertain trades for Armstead, who is under contract for one more year, or Thomas, if the team is that high on Williams. Scouts project him as a perennial Pro Bowler.
It’s hard to argue with the logic of selecting the top player, particularly for a 49ers team that doesn’t have many glaring weaknesses, despite its 4-12 record in 2018. Either Bosa or Williams would likely make an impact from Day 1. With the way Lynch is reportedly approaching the draft, taking Bosa may not be a foregone conclusion, should he drop to the second overall pick.