COMMENTARY | It is well documented how many picks the 49ers have in the upcoming 2013 NFL draft. Even with the offseason trades in which the 49ers acquired wide receiver Anquan Boldin and departed with backup quarterback Alex Smith, the team still has 14 selections to make on April 25.
San Francisco also has a few holes to fill on the field with some of this offseason's departures, and a few highlighted weaknesses from the playoffs. The secondary is sure to be a point of interest for general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Jim Harbaugh. Considering the rather lackluster growth of 2012 first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins, acquiring more depth at wide receiver will also be a heavily pursued position for the team.
The 49ers do not have all these draft picks just to sit back and select 14 players who will likely not even make the team in 2013, though. San Francisco will be active in the draft, and it starts in the first round with mid-round players that could be just what the team needs.
First Round, No. 31 overall
With all the draft picks in their arsenal in 2013, it is likely that the 49ers will look to trade up at this position in the first round.
Three names come to mind in the middle of the round that could peak San Francisco's interest. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes is a big and physical cover that would fit nicely into the team's smash-mouth defense, safety Kenny Vaccaro is an NFL-ready player that definitely fills a need at the position for the 49ers and wide out Tavon Austin is the speedy receiver that gives the team yet another option for Colin Kaepernick.
Austin is reportedly set to visit with San Francisco prior to the draft.
If the 49ers do not trade up in the first round, the "best available player of need" selection will be in the cards. The team's first-round needs are safety, cornerback and defensive tackle.
With the odds of the 49ers trading up in the first round being relatively good, it all comes down to what position they will target, and safety is arguably the biggest need for the team since the loss of Dashon Goldson. In that case, safety Kenny Vaccaro out of Texas should be on San Francisco's radar.
Vaccaro just as big and fast as Goldson, but the safety's biggest strength may be his superb instincts on the field, an arguable knock on Goldson at times. With Vaccaro, the 49ers would not miss a step at safety, and possibly be even more improved on defense next season.
Second Round, No. 2 (No. 34 overall)
Just two picks later, the 49ers will be on the clock -- presuming the team does not use this pick to trade up in the first round. There are several viable options at No. 34 with several needs that still need to be filled. Defensive tackle should be a large priority if not in the first round, then most definitely at the earliest spot in the second round. But also look for the 49ers to consider tight end Zack Ertz if he is still available.
Defensive tackle John Jenkins out of Georgia should be there at this position, as well, although ESPN's Todd McShay has the 49ers selecting him with the 31st overall pick.
At 6'4" and 346 pounds, Jenkins is a space-filler with the ability to rush the quarterback with surprisingly quick feet. Since the 49ers lost both Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky-Jean Francois on the defensive line, the addition of Glenn Dorsey with the selection of Jenkins would keep San Francisco strong up front.
Second Round, No. 29 (No. 61 overall)
While the prospect of adding another safety like Johnathan Cyprien out of Florida International will be tempting for the 49ers -- especially with safety Donte Whitner approaching free agency -- adding a cornerback to the depth in the secondary is needed, as is a wide receiver to add to the list in years to come.
With Anquan Boldin only signed for one season, wide receiver is the best option at this position in the draft, as cornerback is a deep position in 2013 and the 49ers have many picks to play with.
The best available wide receiver at No. 61 is Aaron Dobson out of Marshall. He would bring speed (ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at Marshall's pro day) and length to the receiving core at 6'3" and 210 pounds. His height and athleticism make his ceiling in the NFL very high.
Scott Semmler is a senior at San Jose State University fortunate enough to have covered nearly every Bay Area professional sports team, including the San Francisco Giants' 2012 World Series title. Follow him on Twitter @ScottSemmler22.
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