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Team Needs: San Francisco 49ers

Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez looks for extra yardage past San Francisco 49ers defenders in the first half of the NFL NFC Championship football game in Atlanta Reuters

The San Francisco 49ers have a whopping 14 draft picks in which to utilize in this year’s draft. Unlike last year, the 49ers will actually need to rely on some of the players they take to be contributors if they hope to make it to another Super Bowl appearance.

The 49ers didn’t get one start from any of their seven draft picks from last year and only a combined 12 games played among the group. First round pick, receiver A.J. Jenkins, appeared in just three games and didn’t make one catch last season. LaMichael James had the only tangible impact last year with 27 carries for 125 yards and three catches for 29 yards in four games played in the regular season. This year, they have some holes to fill and plenty of chances to do so.

Safety: The 49ers elected to let Dashon Goldson walk in free agency rather than pursuing him for the big money contract he received from Tampa Bay. San Francisco signed former St. Louis Rams safety Craig Dahl but need to add talent to the position alongside starter Donte Whitner. Florida’s Matt Elam or LSU’s Eric Reid could be targets with the 49ers late first or early second round selections.

Nose Tackle: With the departure of Isaac Sopoaga to the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason, the 49ers are in need of a replacement to anchor the middle of their defensive line. Will Tukuafu and Ian Williams have been options on a rotational basis but may not be up to the task of playing more frequently. Georgia’s John Jenkins or Missouri Southern State’s Brandon Williams could be options for the 49ers in the second or third round.

Tackle: While the starting tackle spots are secured with Joe Staley and Anthony Davis, the depth behind them is suspect. While Alex Boone can also play some tackle if needed, the 49ers need to add at least one backup to solidify the depth on the line.

Tight End: The 49ers frequently used two tight end packages last year with Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker. With Walker’s departure to Tennessee, the 49ers need to find another option to play off of Davis. Garrett Celek may not be able to provide the contribution San Francisco is looking for. The 49ers could look to find an option in the middle rounds.

Running Back: Frank Gore is 29 years old and running backs have a track record of losing a step (or several) when they reach 30. Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James and Anthony Dixon have been strong role players for the 49ers but San Francisco could use one of their picks to look to the post-Gore future. South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore could be an interesting option in the middle rounds as the 49ers could give him time to get healthy before needing him to be a productive player.

Cornerback: Even with the addition of Nnamdi Asomugha, the 49ers cornerback position needs an upgrade. Asomugha and Carlos Rogers are getting older and the 49ers secondary struggled late in the year and into the postseason. Tarell Brown started all 16 games for San Francisco last year and can play outside when Rogers slides inside in nickel packages. However, Asomugha is only on a one-year deal and the 49ers could groom a replacement.

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38 Responses to “Team Needs: San Francisco 49ers”
  1. pencilmonkeymagic says: Apr 22, 2013 9:14 AM

    Since its unlikely SF will allow rookies to start, I could see them use some of those 14 picks to trade up in Rd. 1, then back in later rounds to acquire more picks in next year’s draft. Continuing the cycle of stockpiling. Nice option if you have the draft capital to start with.

  2. floratiotime says: Apr 22, 2013 9:18 AM

    Few teams have ever been this stacked with talent. In a year or 2 the salary cap will bite them. But right now they’re a juggernaut. Only Harbaugh’s poor game-day decisions stand in their way, which is good news for the rest of the NFL.

  3. allforfunnplay says: Apr 22, 2013 9:29 AM

    your assessment of the Nose Tackle position is wrong. The Niners signed Glenn Dorsey to start at Nose. The Niners extended Ian William’s contract to either back up or eventually start at Nose.

    Defensive End/Defensive Tackle is more of a priority. The Niners don’t rotate their Defensive Linemen. Last year fatigue and injuries caught up with them. Justin Smith is recovering from a triceps tear injury, will be 34 at the begging of the season and is in the last year of his contract. So a backup Defensive End/Tackle to rotate in for the starters to keep them fresh and as a possible replacement for Justin Smith is a high priority for the team.

  4. lightcleric says: Apr 22, 2013 9:33 AM

    No mention of backup QB? If it’s going to get mentioned on teams like the Packers, it *definitely* needs to be mentioned on teams with QBs like Kaepernick who are very vulnerable to injury because of their running style, and I’m going out on a limb and saying Colt McCoy does not do a good Kaepernick impression.

    They have all those draft picks, they may as well use one on a late round guy.

  5. ninerhatersgetready4ring6 says: Apr 22, 2013 9:38 AM

    Contrary to this article, the 49ers don’t have but one starting spot undecided and that is the free safety position from the departure of Dashon Goldson. All of the other positions are backups. Sopogoa played 35% of the snaps and had only 1 sack and that was in the playoffs against ATL.
    The Niners have only 13 picks with the A.Boldin and Colt McCoy trades not 14 picks. The Niners have arguably the best O-Line ,D-Line and LB’s in football, so all the other parts are interchangeable. As mentioned above, those needs listed above are backups. Name me one other team that have a starting quality tackle sitting behind two starters? If that was the case, he would be starting for another team. Next to our rival the SeaHawks, the Niners have the deepest roster in the NFL. Let’s run the needs after the draft and see how quick this changes.

  6. madpunter88 says: Apr 22, 2013 9:40 AM

    A lot was made last year about the lack of play from their rookies — the implication being that they were so deep as a team that they didn’t need them. I find this difficult to believe — every NFL team needs contributions from all 53 players. Is it possible that last year’s SF draft may turn out to be historically bad? Were they not played because none of them could compete?

  7. 4t9er says: Apr 22, 2013 9:42 AM

    If the rumors are true and Baalke is considering moving up in the first round then I expect him to go for a defensive linemen (DE or NT).

  8. ozymandias121 says: Apr 22, 2013 9:45 AM

    They won’t take a RB at all. They will draft a DE who would take over Justin Smith’s job eventually. They will probably take another pass rusher also if they don’t sign a FA for more depth there also.

  9. lionsdraftguy says: Apr 22, 2013 9:57 AM

    Niners #1 need? A plug for their coaches big mouth.

  10. bmfwest says: Apr 22, 2013 10:36 AM

    Gee Curtis, u make it sound like they are
    Falling apart….this is at least a ten win team, with no additions at all….u should listen to movin the chains, to get some real pro insight…

  11. braceyourselffor12 says: Apr 22, 2013 11:00 AM

    The closest thing that Det fans can come to rooting for a Super Bowl contender is coming to Niners articles an post asinine comments. That must suck.

    We are stacked this year, I can only trust Har-Baalke will utilize this years draf picks to strengthen our roster.

    GO NINERS!!!!

  12. fosteraustralianfortouchdown says: Apr 22, 2013 11:05 AM

    If niners use all 13 picks(as is) likely 6 of them wont make the roster, they honestly dont have that many areas they need to improve. They should strongly consider trading up and trying to get muliple ones and twos or 3’s. Trade all those picks into quality rather than quantity and draft best available at position of need, s maybe nt etc

  13. thestrategyexpert says: Apr 22, 2013 11:11 AM

    The 49ers are looking to have one fun and fascinating draft ahead of them. Great entry shape. If they pull off some good trades then that could be very scary. The 49ers have a special opportunity here to take a step up to a higher level.

  14. steelerben says: Apr 22, 2013 11:43 AM

    The 49ers have 13 picks to find a starting safety and some backsup to develop? Well, that’ll be tough to accomplish.

  15. skilaufenhase says: Apr 22, 2013 11:44 AM

    trade up for vaccaro. Safeties like him don’t come around often.

  16. filthymcnasty1 says: Apr 22, 2013 11:46 AM

    Based on the the last few minutes of the Superbowl, they need to draft some red zone offense.

  17. Brinke says: Apr 22, 2013 11:51 AM

    “Niners #1 need? A plug for their coaches big mouth.”

    says a fan of the team with Schwartz as HC. Unless he got canned and I missed it.

    #goniners

  18. 49erstim says: Apr 22, 2013 12:22 PM

    Most of SF’s draft will be for depth. I agree that they need a DE to replace Justin Smith (eventually), and some youth at CB couldn’t hurt either. I’m also slightly concerned about the Safety position. If they can parlay these 13 picks into trade fodder and move up a couple times that would be great.

    The assumption that SF needs more help at RB is absurd. I’m more concerned about a back-up QB.

  19. redandgoldhitman52 says: Apr 22, 2013 12:28 PM

    we looking like a superbowl team for years to come. what were talking about is backups. with 13 picks it shouldn’t be hard to find a backup dt , de, safety , cb.

  20. ninerssince84 says: Apr 22, 2013 12:38 PM

    We need a damn kicker.

  21. clssylssy says: Apr 22, 2013 12:53 PM

    Except for QB depth, they looks pretty secure for this year and have plenty of picks to trade up for or use to rotate in talent in preparation for upcoming contract hits. They could sign somebody like Kerry Rhodes for a year or two, as a space holder at safety. He was a consistent playmaker in Arizona and major contributor to the Arizona defense, which was able to roll over the 9ers in 2011. Looking like a SB winner. Team has “good bones”, good coach, doesn’t need much. Biggest threat will be the Seahawks when they are at home but 9ers should be able to take them…better coaching:)

  22. ctiggs says: Apr 22, 2013 12:55 PM

    I cant wait for the new season to start. #kapformvp #ninerssuperbowl!!

  23. brooklynniner19 says: Apr 22, 2013 1:05 PM

    If I was Trent Baalke, I wouldnt trade up unless its for sure starter at FS(Vacarro) ! If not then stay with pick 31& 34. Go DL, and then secondary with those two picks. After that WR, and then TE, and then back to defense.

  24. mackcarrington says: Apr 22, 2013 1:17 PM

    Team Needs: R.C. Owens, Ken Willard, Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott.

  25. lionsdraftguy says: Apr 22, 2013 1:49 PM

    @Brinke
    Says every nfl fan except forty whiners fans.

  26. aurium44 says: Apr 22, 2013 1:50 PM

    Would be genius if Baalke could work this draft and use the 13 picks to get:

    Kenny Vaccaro – S
    Datone “setter” Jones – DL
    Zack Ertz – TE
    and an additional #1 for 2014

    they should trade Donte Whitner and some of their late round picks

  27. pickerelus says: Apr 22, 2013 1:55 PM

    Too many picks for such a talented roster. Either trade up or trade some of this year’s picks for picks next year. Definite needs are a backup QB, kicker, safety, corner back, future RB, second TE and depth on both lines, especially defensive tackle. I would use the higher round picks on defensive tackle, safety and corner back. Backup QB and kicker are late round picks. Lattimore could be a steal with a mid round draft pick if they believe he will recover fully. He has Gore-like power, which none of the other backs do. Strengthening back up offensive and defensive line players is the goal of all good teams. As noted, salary cap problems will prevent keeping this roster together more than two years. They have the luxury of taking the best player in spite of the position he plays.

  28. adrianpeterson28 says: Apr 22, 2013 2:13 PM

    Vaccaro will not be drafted 1st round.

  29. sanfranfanyouknowit says: Apr 22, 2013 3:29 PM

    kicker is Phil Dawson. Move up for Vacarro with picks 31 and 34. Then draft TE Ertz, then QB Manuel, then CB Mathieu. After that parlay picks for more next year or give up a few to get a D lineman in the 3rd round as well.

  30. eastkoast49er says: Apr 22, 2013 5:43 PM

    Vaccaro is NOT the S that we need. We need a traditional FS that plays deep 1st, but can make a hit when he has to, not an “in the box” S that gets sucked up on Play Action and allows someone to get deep behind him. We have that in #31! He’s a great player, but not the one for us.

    Watching film now. I hope they take Cyprien in the early 2nd or Swearinger late 2nd. Also Duke Williams in the 5th/6th round as an insurance pick

  31. eastkoast49er says: Apr 22, 2013 5:45 PM

    However, if a trade UP is made in the 1st round, they are going for Vaccaro.

  32. seahonky says: Apr 22, 2013 11:42 PM

    Safety. Every quarterback is gonna throw in Dahl’s direction

  33. txnative61 says: Apr 23, 2013 2:21 AM

    The embarrassment in Seattle in a game critical to home field squarely puts a backup for Justin Smith the absolute top priority. Traveling to Eastern time in the playoffs huge disadvantage for West Coast teams, particularly in the early time frame. Better not count on the Vikings to bail them out again, and waking up in time to win in the East.

  34. hackphx says: Apr 23, 2013 3:40 AM

    If QBs throw in Dahl’s direction, it will be to the sidelines. Dahl won’t start. Culliver will be FS. I think Harbalke knew this when they franchised Goldson last year.

  35. syedsufyan says: Apr 23, 2013 11:01 PM

    Which is funnier? Watching Harbaugh on the sidelines or watching all the other teams’ fans get butt hurt and start crying about it when they can’t anything bad to say about the 49ers?

  36. syedsufyan says: Apr 23, 2013 11:04 PM

    “lionsdraftguy says:
    Apr 22, 2013 1:49 PM
    @Brinke
    Says every nfl fan except forty whiners fans.”

    Buddy, why don’t you go back to your team’s draft needs page instead of posting all your trash here? I’m sure you will see a lot of things on that page, as the Lions have about 20 positions to address right now.
    P.S. Your Lions continued the streak of a player arrested every year. Congrats!

  37. miguel3557 says: Apr 24, 2013 12:21 PM

    Syedsufan,

    I was a 49er fan for nine years before Harbaugh was born and will be a 49er fan for as long as I live. I believe that his sideline behavior is utterly atrocious, an utter abomination of the concept of leadership and sportsmanship. Harbaugh’s self-absorbed press conferences where he graces the public with his pouting presence are despicable.

    His infantilism is tolerated only because the team’s winning. If the team weren’t winning, 49er fans would also regard Harbaugh as the jerk he is.

  38. miguel3557 says: Apr 24, 2013 12:30 PM

    P.S. to Syedsufan,

    To appreciate how juvenile Harbaugh is, just recall for comparison purposes how courtly and elegant a real coaching genius, Bill Walsh, was and how proud he made everyone feel to be a 49er fan.

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