The San Francisco 49ers are being urged to do more than just talk to a prospect they recently met who has 4.99 speed in the 40-yard dash. They’re being called a “trade-up candidate” for fast-rising offensive lineman prospect Braeden Daniels of Utah.
Kyle Madson of Niners Wire on USA Today on Saturday, March 25 believes the towering and quick 6-foot-4, 294-pounder is worth moving up in the NFL Draft for if you’re the 49ers. Daniels had a pre-draft visit with the 49ers per Justin Melo of The Draft Network on Friday, March 24.
The reasons for trading up per Madson? Having elite foot speed for an offensive lineman is one thing, but Daniels showing he can thrive in more than one offensive line spot is another reason behind the intrigue for the Pac-12 champion.
“Versatility is one of the common threads with the offensive linemen the 49ers are meeting with before this year’s draft, and there aren’t many players with Daniels’ versatility,” Madson wrote. “During his career with the Utes he played in 49 games with 43 starts. That experience alone is intriguing. Consider though that he started 18 games at left guard, 14 at left tackle and 11 at right tackle, and suddenly his experience comes with important context.”
How Daniels Would Fit 49ers if Brought in
A versatile, quick-footed lineman in the 49ers’ zone read offense? Sounds like what head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch is looking for. However, Madson believes Daniels would be a fit in one area of the line.
“The 49ers don’t have to guess on whether Daniels can play multiple spots. His experience at both tackle spots and left guard indicate he could make a pretty easy move to right guard too if needed,” he wrote.
As it is, being a lineman underneath 300 pounds points to Daniels starting out on the interior for whichever NFL team he lines up for.
“His size at 6-4, 294 pounds he profiles more as an interior lineman, but athletically he can play anywhere,” Madson said. “Per Pro Football Focus, Daniels allowed 58 pressures and five sacks on 1,463 pass blocking snaps. He also graded out as an elite run blocker in 2020 and 2021 before falling back to the average range in 2022.”
‘Explosive Player’ Was at His Athletic Best Versus SEC Opponent
If there are teams like the 49ers who need any game film to really scrutinize Daniels’ game, they can start with the Utes’ season opener versus Florida down in Gainesville.
Daniels shows off a three-technique defensive tackle-like explosion once the ball is snapped and in the process, the defense has no chance in stopping this run to the end zone.
But there’s one more play — this time shining a light on how he finishes his blocks in pass protection.
Daniels went on to earn All-Conference honors in the Pac-12 and became an integral part of the Utes’ Pac-12 title runs. Now he’s being labeled as someone the 49ers can considering moving up in the draft for and bolster this line.
“Daniels is the type of player who can push potentially any of the 49ers’ starters outside of Trent Williams or Jake Brendel. Without a ton of certainty along the line, having a player who can compete at right tackle or either guard spot would make Daniels a worthwhile add via trade up since he won’t likely fall to the late third round,” Madson said.