Kurtenbach: Grading the 49ers’ Day 2 draft picks Renardo Green, Dominick Puni

On Friday, the 49ers added two more players to their roster, selecting Florida State cornerback Renardo Green and Kansas offensive lineman Dominick Puni with their second- and third-round picks in the NFL Draft.

Alongside first-round pick Ricky Pearsall, the Niners are off to a solid start in their draft, with more picks coming on Day 3.

Here are my grades for their Day 2 picks and what the Niners’ moves mean for the overall team.

Pick No. 64: Renardo Green, CB, Florida State

In my opinion, Green was one of the most underrated cornerback prospects in this class — he’s no flash, all substance, and while we have no idea what the 49ers’ defense will truly be in 2024 and beyond, if they go back to an authentic Cover 3, I like Green as a perfect fit for it.

Like with Pearsall, there will be questions about value. If this draft has taught us anything, it’s that every team operates far away from whatever the “consensus” is among draftniks and dorks like me.

I thought Green was a viable pick in the third round. Given the way this draft unfolded, the Niners are justified in deciding they couldn’t wait to take him.

I see Green as an outside corner and likely the starter there in short order. He can play the slot, but lacks the kind of punch the Niners prefer from that slot. But by adding a viable cornerback from this draft class, it seems unavoidable now that Demmodore Lenoir will stay in the slot. That’s a win for San Francisco — that’s Lenoir’s best position.

It should be noted that the Niners passed on one of my favorite prospects in the draft, BYU offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia, to take Green. They effectively traded Suamataia to Kansas City for a fifth-round draft pick, moving down one spot to No. 64, allowing Kansas City to take Suamataia at No. 63.

Suamataia is a raw prospect, but he has the potential to be a starting left tackle for a decade in this league. The Niners disagreed with that assessment. And they evidently don’t feel they need a left tackle of the future on the roster anytime soon. Trent Williams, who has flirted with retirement before, has three playing years remaining on his contract. The Niners have bet he’ll play at least two of them.

Grade: B

I like Green more than most, and apparently, so did the Niners. Cornerback wasn’t as big a need as the outside world seemed to think it was, but the drop-off from Green to the rest of the draft class is significant. The Niners passed on viable tight end and left tackle prospects to take Green — in the case of Kingsley Suamataia, explicitly — but they did well with Green, who should eventually provide stability to a No. 2 cornerback position that has been chaotic in recent years.

Pick No. 86: Dominick Puni, OL, Kansas

The Niners saw more offensive linemen than projected come off the board before they moved up to select at No. 86. All of the future starting left tackles were off the board, as were the top guards in this class.

With Puni, though, the Niners are betting they landed a quality player at both positions.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Puni started the season as the top backup at all five offensive line positions.

Puni is a high-floor, low-ceiling prospect who showed the run-blocking tenacity the Niners value above all else at Kansas. He’s a smooth mover, but he’s not fleet of foot. And while he boasts excellent hands, he was too easily stood up in pass protection.

Had the Niners taken Puni on Day 3, it’d be a laudable pick. His ability to contribute across the line fills a need.

As is, it’s not a good pick, not a bad pick. Like Puni, it’s serviceable and won’t burn the 49ers.

Grade: C

Puni is reminiscent of Colton McKivitz, the man many Niners fans were looking to replace at right tackle in this draft. The Kansas product might be able to start at right guard this season, but in all likelihood, he will be both the Niners’ swing tackle and the first man up should someone get injured on the interior – a position he is better suited to play. That includes center, where I think Puni’s future might be. He has a chance to be quite excellent there. This pick is nothing to brag about, but it’s nothing to worry about, either.

Overall Draft Grade (after two days): B+

First-round pick Ricky Pearsall was an A+ selection. Add in two highly competent prospects, Green and Puni, and you have a draft that might not win with TV analysts in the spring, but will help John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan sleep better at night in the fall. Let’s see if they add more upside players on Day 3, when they can take some big swings.

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