The NFL Draft is a little under a month away, and the 49ers are continuing to make their way through player visits. They will visit with a lot more players than they will be able to draft (even with 14 picks!), but it is always interesting to see what it could mean for the 49ers draft plans.
The latest news has them scheduling visits with West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin (per Matt Barrows) and Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien (per PFT). In an interesting coincidence, February 25 saw us post a Cyprien scouting report and an article on how Austin could fit in with the 49ers.
Given the 49ers current depth at wide receiver, it is difficult to figure out what their end-game is for the position come draft time. Jim Harbaugh is always looking for competition, given his "iron sharpens iron" mantra. The 49ers have a pretty full stack of wide receivers, but you have to think Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin are the only truly "safe" players. A.J. Jenkins is probably next closest given his first round status, but even he has to be on notice come training camp.
Austin would bring a burner element that has been missing for quite some time. Vernon Davis is a fast guy, but he is not that traditional deep threat who will break the back of the secondary. Austin would have a chance to fill that role right away. Of course, given his likely first round status, the 49ers would have to decide if they want to draft that kind of luxury.
Cyprien is a guy with a booming draft stock. Per Rotoworld, Greg Cosell made an appearance on Rich Eisen's podcast and said that Cyprien could make a case to be the first safety off the board. Kenny Vaccaro has been considered the top safety in the class, but that could change with the right kind of interest.
The 49ers signed Craig Dahl and re-signed Darcel McBath, but there remains a significant need at safety. The 49ers have question marks at free safety, and strong safety Donte Whitner is entering the final year of his contract. It seems obvious at this point that the 49ers look safety fairly early.