Team needs: San Francisco 49ers

With the draft three weeks away, it’s time to look closer at team needs for every NFL club.  (Translation: We’re desperate for new content.)

We’ll be rolling a few team needs posts per day in the rumor mill.  Now up: The 49ers.

QB: The only 49ers quarterback under contract is David Carr, and even he isn’t assured of a roster spot because of a $2.375 million base salary. The Niners hope to re-sign free agent Alex Smith, but the former No. 1 pick would be no more than a bridge to — ideally — a more talented passer. Smith’s downfall has nothing to do with smarts or development, and everything to do with skill.

DT: The Niners opted against franchise tagging nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin for a second straight offseason, and he “has every expectation of cashing in” on the free agent market. Ricky Jean-Francois is next on the depth chart, but he’s undersized and a career backup type. The nose is an integral position in Vic Fangio’s 3-4 defense, even if it’s more “multiple” than old defensive coordinator Greg Manusky’s scheme.

LB: San Francisco hasn’t had a defender hit double-digit sacks since 2002. The length of that drought alone might push this position above nose tackle on G.M. Trent Baalke’s list of needs, though the Niners probably could get by with Parys Haralson and Ahmad Brooks at outside linebacker. But the 49ers need a disruptive edge rusher to become a dynamic defense. Manny Lawson is a free agent, and he probably isn’t coming back.

CB: Again, this isn’t a position of desperate need. But the 49ers probably have no intention of paying Nate Clements a $7.25 million salary in his age-32 season, and Tarell Brown is best suited as a nickel back. There’s a reason LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson is commonly sent to San Francisco in mock drafts.

Overview: While the 49ers’ roster isn’t in all that bad of shape, teams don’t win in the NFL without consistent production at the quarterback position. First-year coach Jim Harbaugh knows it, and he’ll have to get creative in the draft and free agency to fill this most pressing need.

If Harbaugh does find a signal-calling solution for 2011, the 49ers will immediately become serious playoff contenders in the wide-open NFC West.

14 responses to “Team needs: San Francisco 49ers

  1. Guaranteed they take a defensive player, and use either Carr or Smith, and tank the abbreviated season, and Harbaugh gets to draft the guy who put him there….Andrew Luck…

  2. at least your honest about the need for new content, but this is actually interesting to see what each team lacks.
    the 9ers wasted so much money on the combination of Alex Smith and Nate Clements i bet they are almost scared to take another QB or DB. LOLOLOLOL

  3. The Niners hope to re-sign free agent Alex Smith, but the former No. 1 pick would be no more than a bridge to — ideally — a more talented passer. Smith’s downfall has nothing to do with smarts or development, and everything to do with skill.

    Well said.

  4. Yeah, i have to agree, that the bridge is either

    A) a deal to get Kyle Orton as a bridge to possibly Luck next year – Kevin Kolb would fit here, but Arizona is in play as is Minnesota.

    B) Dalton in the second round or later and roll the dice with Smith again, and/or another vet

    C) really roll the dice on either Kaepernick, Jake Locker or worst case, Ryan Mallet in the 2nd.

  5. As crazy as this sounds I wouldnt be surprised if David Carr got another chance here. Greg Roman was his QB coach in Houston and there’s not a better way to become a big name in coaching than resurrecting a QB.

  6. The 49ers need to go after the best player available at the following positions, & in the following order.

    1st rnd: CB or LB with CB being the priority.

    2nd rnd: QB, LB, or RB with priority being the best player available out of those positions.

    3 & 4th rnds: RB & DT with priority being the best player available out of those positions.

    5, 6 & 7th rnds: Best player available regardless of position. Find a steal if possible.

    I’m of the thought that the 49ers also need to sign a veteran QB to a two year deal to hold the fort down while Harbaugh grooms the QB of the future. I trust Harbaugh’s eye for QB talent seeing as how he used to play the position.

  7. I would be happy with Peterson or Von Miller in 1st. Dalton, Ponder or Jimmy Smith in 2nd.

  8. So having Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary as head coaches and having one of the worst O-lines in the league had absolutely nothing to do with Alex Smith and the team’s lack of success.

    It was all due to Smith’s “lack of skill”?

    No.

  9. There are huge needs on both sides of the ball. Lawson never played like a starter, bye. Clements is over, bye. Franklin, well, bye bye. Sometimes you just land where the good lord done flung ya!This lock-out and lack of free agency qualifies for that type of situation, draft the best available player, and consider that this rebuild will take a couple of years. Just say no to Alex.

  10. Any consideration for Nick Fairley with their pick?? He can potentially replace Franklin and is probably the best player available at their pick.

    I’d rather roll the dice on him than Gabbert, or any of the other QB’s

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