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Team needs: San Francisco 49ers


49ers coach Jim Harbaugh engineered a prolific turnaround during his first year on the job. He took a 6-10 team and turned it into a 13-game winner, stopped short of Super Bowl XLVI only by three points in the NFC Championship game. After one year under Harbaugh, the Niners have gone from a team with many holes to very few.

Guard: The Niners opened the 2011 season starting Chilo Rachal at right guard. He was quickly benched in favor of Adam Snyder, but both players have departed in free agency. While holdovers Alex Boone and Daniel Kilgore will get long looks in training camp, this is a position on which San Francisco could easily invest the 30th overall pick.

Wide receiver: Randy Moss and Ted Ginn are working on one-year deals, and Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree are under contract only through the 2013 season. The Niners showed quite a bit of interest in receivers on the pre-draft meetings circuit. They hosted LSU’s Rueben Randle, Baylor’s Kendall Wright, Illinois’ A.J. Jenkins, and Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill for club-facility visits.

Defensive line: All three starters return, but nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga and right end Justin Smith are both on the wrong side of 30. And beyond Ricky Jean-Francois, San Francisco lacks quality depth up front. Vic Fangio’s defense prides itself on winning in the trenches, so look for the 49ers to invest one or two draft picks here.

Cornerback: The Niners should feel good about their cornerback depth chart as is, but there’s always room for improvement. Right corner Tarell Brown is a league-average starter, and bookend Carlos Rogers turns 31 before the season. Nickel back Chris Culliver is one of the top young defensive prospects in football, but no cornerbacks on San Francisco’s roster are guaranteed anything beyond those three. The Niners may invest a late-round pick on a corner.

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28 Responses to “Team needs: San Francisco 49ers”
  1. jigwig13 says: Apr 23, 2012 8:19 AM

    I would take a guard or Stephen hill…hills numbers weren’t good but he’s big and fast…and he could be our young Randy and learn from the old randy for a yr

  2. mungman69 says: Apr 23, 2012 8:20 AM

    I think that they go with either an O lineman or a D lineman.

  3. jaypell says: Apr 23, 2012 8:42 AM

    Team needs* new coach.. Someone not spaztic like jim harbaugh

  4. jaypell says: Apr 23, 2012 8:44 AM

    Someone who wont play grabas s

  5. davidjcu says: Apr 23, 2012 9:03 AM

    I like the deep threat that Hill provides as well as his run blocking ability. Receivers from GT tend to be decent run blockers and maybe he can teach Moss a thing or 2.

  6. 4t9er says: Apr 23, 2012 9:12 AM

    I still think the 49ers need a true #1 WR. They can’t risk the whole season on the Randy Moss project working out.

  7. kidpresentable says: Apr 23, 2012 9:17 AM

    I’d say quarterback, but it seems that the 49ers are going to make the same mistake the Jets made which is take team success despite mediocrity at the QB position and confuse it with success because of the QB position.

  8. 49erstim says: Apr 23, 2012 9:27 AM

    The “talking heads” seem to believe it is a lock that they go WR @ 30. Obviously its a need, but I can also see them trying to find a pass-rusher. No matter what Baalke said the other day I believe they’ll stay fluid with that pick and take best available player at a needed position. If that happens to be an O-lineman then they’ll do that..I’d like to see them get a tough/physical receiver, but thats just me.

  9. jwayne111 says: Apr 23, 2012 9:30 AM

    “Team Suggestion: San Francisco 49ers”

    Stop coddling Alex Smith – along with a good draft you have put him in a good position to prove himself in QB world. Rubber hits the road for Alex and Flacco this yr. ( both can succeed if allowed to “run the offense”)

  10. joejoe81 says: Apr 23, 2012 9:37 AM

    “he could be our young Randy and learn from the old randy”…..

    Be careful what you wish for.

    I’d rather have him learn to be a hard worker and never give up.

  11. naptown49r says: Apr 23, 2012 9:50 AM

    We need to Draft Defensively, we need depth. We are at a point where we could build something great, if we get some depth we could be a scary franchise for the next 10yrs. (D) Wins Championships!

  12. mmsierra says: Apr 23, 2012 10:54 AM

    A right guard would be great !
    Silatolu or Zeitler …..

    But, the other big need is a RB to spell and eventually replace Frank Gore
    Frank is starting to slow down and get nicked
    Doug Martin or David Wilson

    Either position would improve this team

    The defensive line is also something that has to be looked into later in the draft…. Jared Crick ? Alameda Ta’amu ?

    FORGET Coby Fleener !!

  13. canadian52niner says: Apr 23, 2012 11:01 AM

    We have defensive depth – williams, dobbs, and tukafu are solid! We need another wr! I am really hoping for Reuben Randle or Fleener as our system is a two TE must.

    Dream Scenario (other thank Luck falling)
    1 (30) – Reuben Randle
    2 – RG – Kevin Zeitler or Kelechi Osemele
    3 – S – Brandon Taylor
    4 – OLB
    5 – CB

    Oh yeah, RB can wait until next year! Kendall Hunter is a beast! Give him another year to prove himself.

  14. ninersforlife15 says: Apr 23, 2012 11:09 AM

    That’s pretty much what I think the 49ers need. I do believe G and WR are our top two needs. I think if Stephen Hill falls to 30th then you need to take him. Even though we have signed Moss, Manningham, and Swain to new contracts, I can easily see Moss being , like Braylon Edwards from last year, and getting cut mid-season. That would leave you with probably Manningham and Crabtree to be your 1 and 2, and as much as I like the signing of Manningham, having Crabtree, Manningham, and probably Williams as your top three WR is not a tremendous improvement from last year. Bringing in Hill means you have a very good vertical/big bodied deep threat who can also block very well (coming from GT). The 49ers need to take Hill and grab a guard early on in the draft and also bring in a veteran for a cheap one year deal and then its all about bringing in youth on the DL, CB, maybe a late round LB, and I think a RB. I know that Harabaugh and Balkke have done their research and we will end up with a great pick!

  15. dirtyjersey9er says: Apr 23, 2012 11:10 AM

    If a guard isnt taken in the first 3 rounds means they have faith in Kilgore or will move Boone or Davis to RG.

  16. oaktown49er says: Apr 23, 2012 11:13 AM

    jaypell says:Apr 23, 2012 8:42 AM

    Team needs* new coach.. Someone not spaztic like jim harbaugh

    jaypell says:Apr 23, 2012 8:44 AM

    Someone who wont play grabas s
    LOL, I smell a Lions fan

  17. nvjackalope says: Apr 23, 2012 11:22 AM

    “49ers coach Jim Harbaugh engineered a prolific turnaround”

    You misuse the word prolific here. It may have been surprising or spectacular, but it wasn’t abundant or plentiful.

    You’re welcome.

  18. nvjackalope says: Apr 23, 2012 11:26 AM

    As a 49ers fan I’d also like to add how refreshing it is to see the author have to really stretch to find four areas in which the 9ers need help. Three years ago this list would have been longer than the golden gate bridge.

  19. cannonballdookie says: Apr 23, 2012 11:41 AM

    I feel bad for any WR’s they draft who have to learn from Crabtree, Moss, or Manningham. It’s like the VH1 Diva’s Reunion.

  20. bubba9er says: Apr 23, 2012 11:52 AM

    I keep hearing about the teams that are looking at Doug Martin and I definitely think 49ers could do a lot worse at #30.

    I agree that WR is big, but we have made some moves at WR already this off season. Snyder played his butt off last year, and that could be a bigger hole than people are talking about.

    What happens if (knock on wood) Frank gets hurt (again) this year? Doug Martin is a durable stud that will make whatever team he goes to better.

  21. time2speakup says: Apr 23, 2012 12:00 PM

    The ONLY real need for my Niners is to keep doing exactly what they’ve been doing on ALL fronts. We have O-Linemen we drafted who could not get on the field last season – there went that “need” poof! right out the window. We now have too many experienced and very different types of wide outs – poof – out the window. Label it “Things the Niners Would Like to Have” and you may have something. Otherwise – this is a non-story.

  22. boltfansmith says: Apr 23, 2012 1:39 PM

    Dont forget QB

  23. backonthestreet says: Apr 23, 2012 4:17 PM

    Thank you for not listing running back as most sites have.

  24. jason49er says: Apr 23, 2012 7:33 PM

    They need an OLB, Only depth is Haralson right now.

    OG, obviously.

    Someone to compete at DL

    WR would be nice, I could see us keeping 6 this year.

    I don’t know why no one is mentioning safety here, Madieu Williams and Reggie Smith both left and Dashon Goldson is only on a 1 year deal.

    I like what we have at CB with the addition of Perrish Cox so I don’t think that is really a need position.

  25. rainponcho87 says: Apr 23, 2012 11:35 PM

    I think the fun thing about the draft is that even at #30 in each round, you know there are some great players available, almost in every round. You just have to find them. There are probably some players that would out great in the 49ers system that nobody is talking about. I like how Baalke and Harbaugh drafted last year. Those “grades” give after the drafts are amusing. Last year, the comments were all about how there were too many reaches. Ha! How did that turn out? Aldon Smith almost set the rookie record for sacks. Chris Culliver as the article mentions above is one of the best young defensive prospects. And Bruce Miller transitioned fantastically from DT to fullback and is a solid starter. Baalke was exec of the year last year. I expect he and Harbaugh will draft very creatively again.

  26. thepythons36 says: Apr 24, 2012 2:03 AM

    fletcher cox
    stephen hill
    KIRKPATRICK (i hope he falls, and they trade up mb like 3 spots for him)


  27. 49erlifer says: Apr 24, 2012 6:04 PM

    What happens if (knock on wood) Frank gets hurt (again) this year? Doug Martin is a durable stud that will make whatever team he goes to better.

    You give the ball to Hunter,Jacobs or Dixon if he is on team that is. I dont get using a 1st rounder on a Rb when you already got 4 im tired of seeing it on sites. I understand the value there but i would rather have a Guard or Reciever or move down in my opinion

  28. ehsguy72 says: Apr 25, 2012 9:09 PM

    Love to see them trade up for Decastro, that is their need position and he knows Harbs program

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