Do you remember when one of your buddies would hold three fingers up, like this, and say, "Read between the lines..."? That's what I feel like the 49ers are doing to me this offseason. It's hard to grasp exactly what McSing is up to. They've been interested in a lot of free agents, at a number of positions, but only landed a couple of reserves. I never really considered DE much of a draft need in the first place, so the addition of Demetric Evans just solidified that. Brandon Jones is more of a #3, like Jason Hill, so finding another talented starting WR is still a need.
So, I'll try now to read between the lines.
1. Offensive Tackle: Upgrading the RT position seems to be priority number one. There has been some contradicting information this week, though. After Andre Smith's debacle of an offseason, his stock is all over the place. Most people seem to think he'll be available at #10. Matt Maiocco seems to think that 49ers scouts were impressed at Smith's Pro Day workout and would pull the trigger if he were available--man-boobs and all. Maiocco drops this little nugget on Sunday...
--Steelers free-agent tackle Marvel Smith received a contract offer from the 49ers on Friday. Obviously, it did not bowl him over. There is a strong chance Smith will continue to weigh his options for a while.
The physical must have gone well. It would be hard to believe OT could be the selection at #10 if Marvel Smith agrees to terms.
2. Outside Linebacker: I would have ranked the need for a pass rusher ahead of OT even though most don't see it that way. So, if the Marvel Smith deal gets done I will be crossing my fingers for Everette Brown or Brian Orakpo at #10. I'm still very afraid of Aaron Maybin, even though he apparently had a great showing at Penn State's Pro Day (so good people are whispering the S-word). There is enough depth that a nice player could be had at pick #43 if the right guy falls to #10 at another position. Everette Brown is still my guy as he is the best pure pass rusher and is more likely to be available due to his size (6-2, 256) counting him out for traditional 4-3 defenses.
3. Wide Reciever: Where's the potential #1 target? Josh Morgan was a nice surprise, but let's be real, we're talking about a guy with ONE career start. The only guy that makes sense with the 10th pick is Crabtree. There could be a nice player in round 2, however. Such as, Hakeem Nicks or Kenny Britt. And I'm glad to see the Ramses Barden bandwagon gaining steam.
4. Running Back: I am not on the Thomas Clayton bandwagon. In fact, I don't really get the facsination with this guy. He's just not that good. From everything the 49ers are saying, they agree with me. McCloughan has made it clear he will draft a #2 to go behind Frank Gore. I'm not sold that it needs to be a "big" back necessarily, but that seems to be what they're looking for, even though McCloughan leaves a ray of hope for a more explosive type runner in a 49ers.com Q and A:
I do not want to comment on another team’s player, but an individual who has the same skill set as Sproles has value not as just a running back, but a returner, receiver and running back. If we were able to find a guy with similar skills, we would definitely entertain that option. The "big back" would be someone who, if Frank were to get hurt, could come in and carry the load for two, four or six weeks. I don’t see a smaller back being that type of guy. We’re going to be a good team this year because we’re able to establish the run and come downhill between the tackles. With a smaller back, that is tough to do, especially for a longer period of time. We always look for good football players and that’s what we’ll continue to do, but you have to understand that this is a big man’s game. The big backs are going to survive in this league.
5. Cornerback: CB is the darkhorse position. Everyone is still talking about safety, but the team has made it clear, they're filling that need from within. And with the recent visits of veteran CBs, the 49ers are tipping their hand. Matt Barrows has finally written what I've been waiting to see--Reggie Smith is now a safety. Watch out for Darius Butler from Connecticut, if he's still there at #43.
6. Quarterback: If the 49ers were interested in Kurt Warner, then you know they're interested in upgrading the position, which they should be. It would surprise me, though, to see a QB selected in the first round, but it's not impossible. If we start to hear lots of talk about QB coming from the front office, you gotta believe it's a smokescreen to increase trade value of the pick. If they do go QB, we probably won't hear a peep.