Why anonymous NFL execs support 49ers’ Pearsall draft pick

After the 49ers selected wide receiver Ricky Pearsall with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, many members of the NFL media punditry were perplexed, though a few high-ranking executives were not.


In an exclusive post-draft piece on The Athletic, a few current league executives explained why they admired the Pearsall pick.


“We loved that receiver,” an exec said. “The first round is probably a little high for him, but if they want the fifth-year option with him, fine.” (h/t The Athletic’s Mike Sando)



Given the complicated offensive scheme that coach Kyle Shanahan runs, finding another receiver that fits next to current stars Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk was a good move, especially because it gives San Francisco more flexibility at the receiver position in the future.


“He is going to be a great piece for Kyle because this guy can double up at the top of the break and not lose any speed in the speed turn,” an exec said. “And it covers San Francisco if they move Aiyuk or Deebo.”


With the 49ers still negotiating with Aiyuk over a long-term contract extension and Samuel’s hefty salary looming over the next two seasons, executives believe the Pearsall selection gives San Francisco an insurance policy if the organization parts ways with its top two wideouts.


“They may have to cut or trade Deebo [Samuel] after the season,” another exec said. “I don’t know why you would mess with a good thing now, especially if you are not going to get equity. If they could have traded somebody for a first-round pick like they did with DeForest Buckner, they would have done that.”



Pearsall began his football career as a prep at Corona del Sol High, where he was a rival of Brock Purdy’s before matriculating to Arizona State where he was teammates with Aiyuk.


Through three seasons with the Sun Devils, Pearsall had only 61 total receptions for 794 yards with two touchdowns before transferring to Florida where he had two breakout seasons, accumulating 98 total receptions for 1,547 yards and three touchdowns.


San Francisco is hopeful that the 23-year-old will be able to fit into its motion-heavy offense and give the team an edge against defenses deploying man coverage.


In the Super Bowl LVIII loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the 49ers receivers struggled against man coverage, something San Francisco hopes to rectify during the 2024 NFL season.



Gideon Canice

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