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.