Following the conclusion of the exhilarating 2023 NFL season, the San Francisco 49ers stand at a pivotal juncture. Despite their impressive 12-5 record and commendable performance in Super Bowl 58, the 49ers are already contemplating their future endeavors. The franchise is poised to replenish its ranks with an eye on the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft. Here, we examine four promising prospects who could potentially join the ranks of the red and gold, making an immediate impact on this esteemed franchise.

The 49ers' 2023 Season

The 49ers experienced a noteworthy 2023 season by most metrics. They asserted their dominance in the NFC West, secured the top seed in the conference, and earned a coveted spot in the Super Bowl once again. Regrettably, their journey culminated in disappointment with a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Las Vegas. That cast a shadow over their otherwise impressive season. Nonetheless, the potential within the 49ers' roster remains palpable. As attention shifts from their season's end to the tasks awaiting them in the 2024 offseason, the focus now turns to charting their path forward.

Tashaun Gipson and Javon Kinlaw are solid role players for the Niners

The 49ers' 2024 Draft Context

With relatively few glaring needs, the 49ers' draft strategy for 2024 will likely pivot on their prior offseason maneuvers. Compounded by the consequences of the Trey Lance trade, the 49ers have been devoid of a first-round selection since 2021. Over their past five drafts featuring first-round picks, three selections have been allocated to bolstering the defensive line.

If San Francisco fails to retain offensive lineman Chase Young, prospects such as Penn State's Chop Robinson or Washington's Bralen Trice could emerge as viable options. Nevertheless, the draft represents an opportune moment for GM John Lynch to reconstruct the team's offensive line. As such, Oregon State's Taliese Fuaga emerges as perhaps the most compelling late first-round target for San Francisco.

Many pundits feel that Fuaga has the size, strength, and run-blocking acumen to secure a starting role right in year one. This is especially true if he plays within a run-centric, play-action-oriented system. Hey, that's exactly what the Niners have, right?

Here we will look at the four players who are the San Francisco 49ers' way too early targets in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Taliese Fuaga, OL, Oregon State

Following Mike McGlinchey's departure for the Denver Broncos in the 2023 free agency, the 49ers entrusted 2020 fifth-round pick Colton McKivitz with the starting role at right tackle. McKivitz showcased promise filling in for Trent Williams at left tackle, but the team could benefit from a more substantial upgrade opposite Williams. This is especially true considering another pressing need at slot corner.

This is where the aforementioned Taliese Fuaga comes in. He presents a skill set ideally aligned with the demands of Kyle Shanahan's offensive scheme. Sure, Fuaga is a work in progress. That said, his potential is highly compelling. As a late first-round prospect, he offers significant upside and the potential to evolve into a top-tier starter. He could address a position that has lacked stability during the Shanahan era.

Zach Frazier, C, West Virginia

Despite attempts with Jake Brendel at center, the 49ers have yet to find a satisfactory solution. Rookie prospect Zach Frazier emerges as an intelligent, seasoned center seamlessly fitting into the 49ers’ offensive framework. With the physicality and play strength to bolster the interior of their run game, Frazier's attributes include remarkable quickness off the line. He also has a stable base in pass protection and acute awareness. While occasionally overaggressive, Frazier's athleticism compensates for potential setbacks. A relentless force in the run game, his background as a four-time state wrestling champion underscores his tenacity on the football field. Frazier promises to be a Day 1 starter and a linchpin for the team that secures his talents.

Khyree Jackson, CB, Oregon

The 49ers' secondary, aside from Charvarius Ward, has displayed inconsistency, necessitating additional depth. Someone like Khyree Jackson can come in via the draft. His length and physical prowess align well with the 49ers' defensive priorities. This makes him a potential immediate contributor on the outside.

Oregon Ducks defensive back Khyree Jackson (5) against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Mountain America Stadium
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kenny Logan Jr, S, Kansas

Yes, star safety Talanoa Hufanga's return from injury is anticipated. However, the 49ers must reinforce their defensive backfield, particularly with pending free agents Tashaun Gipson Sr and Logan Ryan. Kenny Logan Jr then presents a viable option to bolster the team's depth at safety alongside promising prospect Ji’Ayir Brown.

Looking Ahead

As the 49ers gear up for the 2024 NFL Draft, they face pivotal decisions to fortify their roster and propel themselves back into championship contention. They have an array of talent available across various positions. As such, the 49ers have the chance to address key areas of need and infuse their lineup with dynamic playmakers. Whether it's bolstering the offensive line with prospects like Taliese Fuaga and Zach Frazier, strengthening the secondary with talents like Khyree Jackson, or enhancing depth at safety with Kenny Logan Jr, the 49ers have a wealth of options to consider. As they navigate the complexities of draft day, the choices they make could shape the trajectory of the franchise for 2024. Their draft picks could help make or break their desire to once again have a deep playoff run.