LAST SEASON Rush Offense - 155.7 ypg (4th)
Pass Offense - 206.1 ypg (23rd)
Total Offense - 361.8 ypg (11th)
Scoring Offense - 24.8 ppg (11th)
Rush Defense - 94.2 ypg (4th)
Pass Defense - 200.2 ypg (4th)
Total Defense - 294.4 ypg (3rd)
Scoring Defense - 17.1 ppg (2nd)
MOST PRESSING NEEDS Offense: Backup tight end and additional dynamic weapon (RB/WR)
Defense: Defensive line and safety
QUARTERBACK The Draft Board
4th round Matt Scott, Arizona (6-2, 213)
Zac Dysert, Miami (OH) (6-3, 231) 5th round Brad Sorensen, SUU (6-4, 237) 6th round Jordan Rodgers, Vanderbilt (6-1, 212) 7th round Dayne Crist, Kansas (6-4, 232)
With Colin Kaepernick fully entrenched as the 49ers' signal caller for the next decade or so, the team dumped Alex Smith. That move left the 49ers without a backup quarterback for the time being, unless Scott Tolzien tickles your fancy. It would make sense for the 49ers to find a veteran backup for Kaepernick and let Tolzien compete for a third-string developmental spot with a rookie. The team has a ton of picks, so it can't hurt to draft a quarterback to come to camp and compete with Tolzien.
Matt Scott is a mini-Kaepernick, but with a more traditional throwing motion. He's got the full complement of skills to be a starter in this league in due time. Zac Dysert can make any throw on the field and make plays out of the pocket. But he has to learn how to prepare like a professional, something he'll learn from Kaepernick. Also keep an eye on Californian Dayne Crist, who lost his job at Kansas, but was MVP of the NFLPA all-star game.
RUNNING BACK The Draft Board
4th round Marcus Lattimore, S. Carolina (5-11, 221) 5th round Kerwynn Williams, Utah St. (5-8, 196) 7th round D.J. Monroe, Texas (5-8, 175)
Sam McGuffie, Rice (5-10, 198)
The 49ers have running backs for days. Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James compose, arguably, the best running back trio in the NFL. Adding a running back in the draft doesn't make a ton of sense, but the team has the luxury of 12 draft picks and few holes to fill so it can take a chance on a versatile or risky project.
Marcus Lattimore is the risky part of the equation, given the fact that he has torn ACLs on both knees. But he doesn't have to be ready immediately given the current depth chart. Kerwynn Williams and D.J. Monroe have speed to burn, but Monroe didn't get a chance to show that much at Texas. Sam McGuffie is an interesting candidate. He never found his groove at Michigan or Rice, but he's got natural ability that the 49ers could utilize in some capacity down the road.
WIDE RECEIVER The Draft Board
1st round Tavon Austin, West Va. (5-9, 174) 2nd round Markus Wheaton, Oregon St. (5-11, 189) 3rd round Ryan Swope, TAMU (6-0, 204)
Stedman Bailey, West Va. (5-10, 193) 4th round Kenny Stills, Oklahoma (6-1, 194) 5th round Denard Robinson, Michigan (5-11, 199)
Ace Sanders, S. Carolina (5-7, 173) 6th round Chad Bumphis, Miss St. (5-10, 196)
Randy Moss takes a walk and Anquan Boldin walks right on in. For a sixth-rounder no less. Add Boldin to Michael Crabtree and the receiving corps has potential to be even better in 2013. They can only improve with return of Mario Manningham from a torn ACL and the expected growth of 2012 first-round selection A.J. Jenkins. Neither of those are givens and with multiple picks in nearly every round, the 49ers can hedge that risk by drafting a dynamic, play-making receiver.
There's little chance that Tavon Austin is on the board at the back-end of the first round, but with the ammunition that the 49ers have, don't be surprised to see them package picks to move up to target Austin. Jim Harbaugh loves players that put maximum pressure on defenses and no player in the draft does that as much as Austin. Markus Wheaton applies pressure on defenses with his track speed. Ryan Swope has 4.34 speed and he's tremendous out of the slot and after the catch.
TIGHT END The Draft Board
3rd round Vance McDonald, Rice (6-3, 267)
Travis Kelce, Cincinnati (6-5, 255) 4th round Jordan Reed, Florida (6-3, 236)
The loss of Delanie Walker is more damaging than it would appear on the surface, especially given the fact that the team has a Pro Bowler at tight end already. But Walker was the perfect complementary piece to Vernon Davis and he'll be missed dearly. The draft does have a handful of prospects that could grow into Walker's massive shoes.
Vance McDonald is the closest thing to Walker that the 49ers could find in this draft. He's an adequate blocker, he's got 4.7 speed and he can catch the ball anywhere on the field. Don't forget he ran the ball on jet sweeps as a move/H-back tight end when he was at Rice. Travis Kelce had a myriad of issues at Cincinnati, but there's no denying his skills. Jordan Reed is more receiver than tight end but he puts pressure on defenses with his quickness and athleticism.
OFFENSIVE LINE The Draft Board
3rd round T David Bakhtiari, Colorado (6-4, 299) 4th round T Jordan Mills, La. Tech (6-5, 316)
T David Quessenberry, SJSU (6-4, 302) 6th round T Reid Fragel, Ohio St. (6-8, 308)
This is one of the best groups in the NFC and all five starters return in 2013. There's not much to elaborate on, other than the fact that the team could use an athletic swing tackle behind Joe Staley and Anthony Davis. That's something the 49ers can find on draft weekend.
David Bakhtiari played for a dreadful Colorado team and that lack of success may have overshadowed his ability. He has the perfect temperament, feet and agility to be a tackle at the next level. Reid Fragel is a former tight end who needs work on his technique, but he's a project who could develop in time.
DEFENSIVE LINE The Draft Board
1st round DE Datone Jones, UCLA (6-4, 283)
NT Jesse Williams, Alabama (6-3, 323) 2nd round DE Margus Hunt, SMU (6-8, 277)
NT/DE Kawann Short, Purdue (6-3, 299) 4th round DE William Gholston, MicH. St. (6-6, 281) 5th round DE Quinton Dial, Alabama (6-5, 318)
The 49ers defensive line has been ravaged by free agency and the carnage may not be complete. NT Isaac Sopoaga signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles and DE Ricky Jean-Francois is being courted by a handful of teams throughout the league. Then there's the question of how long DE Justin Smith can play at a high level. He'll be 34 in April and finished last season playing with a torn tricep. The 49ers partially addressed the issue by adding Glenn Dorsey in free agency but this unit still needs some work.
Datone Jones is a dynamic force, regardless of where he lines up on the field. He could play over the nose if necessary or in a 3-technique in even fronts or as a 5-tech in odd fronts. His burst and acceleration off the ball stand out and it'll be what gets the 49ers attention. Jesse Williams would be a tremendous fit over the nose, replacing Sopoaga, given his strength, technique and ability play a one gap style or two gap style.
LINEBACKER The Draft Board
1st round OLB Damontre Moore, TAMU (6-4, 250) 3rd round OLB Corey Lemonier, Auburn (6-3, 255)
OLB Jamie Collins, S. Miss (6-3, 250) 5th round OLB Cornelius Washington, Georgia (6-4, 265)
The 49ers have the best linebacking corps in the NFL and that group doesn't hurt for much, if anything at all. But it would like to have some additional pressure players out on the edge. The 49ers drafted former Virginia star Cam Johnson last year, but like A.J. Jenkins, he didn't see the field at all, spending much of the year on the practice squad.
Damontre Moore has taken a significant hit this offseason, perhaps more than any other prospect, including Manti Te'o. That said, he doesn't have to start right away so he may work as a third-down rush option. The 49ers have the luxury of taking the best available player at that spot and finding him at No. 31 would be a coup. Corey Lemonier will have to adjust to playing up and Jamie Collins is more athlete than football player, yet both would have great value in the third round.
SECONDARY The Draft Board
1st round S Matt Elam, Florida (5-10, 208)
S Eric Reid, LSU (6-0, 213)
S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas (6-0, 214) 2nd round S Jonathan Cyprien, FIU (6-0, 217)
CB Jamar Taylor, Boise St. (5-11, 192) 3rd round S Phillip Thomas, Fresno St. (6-1, 208)
S DJ Swearinger, S. Carolina (5-11, 208)
CB Dwayne Gratz, UConn (5-11, 201) 4th round CB/S Tyrann Mathieu, LSU (5-9, 178) 5th round CB DJ Hayden, Houston (5-11, 191) 6th round S Cody Davis, Texas Tech (6-2, 204)
Heading into the offseason it was clear that the 49ers had some work to do to make the secondary better for the 2013 season. Then the team lost free agent S Dashon Goldson and that work became that much more difficult. Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco each had impressive performances against the 49ers' back four and that was with Goldson in the lineup. With Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers on the corners, the team is adequate on the edge, but not good enough to keep the team from drafting players to compete for playing time. Furthermore, with Goldson now gone, the team needs immediate help at safety.
Matt Elam is the best football player on this board, but he doesn't have the physical measurables of the other safeties in this class. He can strike, but he's an excellent tackler as well. Still, his biggest attributes are his awareness and football IQ. Against Texas A&M, he was free in coverage and noticed that a cornerback had missed the call to play man coverage. Elam sprinted over to cover the wide open receiver and knocked down a sure TD pass in a three-point win. Also keep an eye on Jonathan Cyprien, although he's better closer to the line of scrimmage than in deep coverage.
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