The San Francisco 49ers were incredibly busy on Day 2 of the 2014 NFL Draft, and while they did end up with more trades than players, they still added some serious talent to their depth chart. It's way too early to draw any hard conclusions, but we can start to make some inferences as to how the picks could impact the current roster.
With that in mind, I thought I'd take a quick look at the five players added the last two days, and what it means for the depth chart in 2014. And just because it's a big enough move, we'll include a look at Stevie Johnson at the end.
Jimmie Ward, defensive back
The 49ers added Ward in the first round with pick No. 30. He was introduced as a safety, but as has become incredibly clear, he will be playing plenty of nickel back. Below is their cornerback depth chart, but the nickel back specific part of the depth chart would likely involve some combination of Wright and Cox at the top.
At the same time, Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke both said they anticipated him learning the safety position as well. Nickel back is likely his primary role early on, but here's what the depth chart looks like at safety. It sounds like Ward is versatile enough to play either safety position.
Carlos Hyde, running back
It's safe to say the 49ers are fully prepared for Frank Gore's time with the 49ers to be coming to an end. Gore could conceivably be released or restructure his deal before the start of this season, but I still don't expect that to happen. However, Gore is in the final year of his contract. Lattimore is a guy we all would love to see emerge as the running back of the future, but we don't know where he really is at in his recovery.
It is entirely possible Hyde and Lattimore could be a dual threat backfield of the future, but whatever happens, it is going to be one heck of a competition. And we still don't know what will be up with Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James. Hunter is now a year and a half removed from his Achilles injury. James has been the subject of trade rumors, but Trent Baalke told the media on Saturday that James remains the primary return man.
Marcus Martin, center/Brandon Thomas, guard
I decided to include these two together given they are both interior linemen. Thomas tore his ACL last month during a workout for the New Orleans Saints, and will likely start the season on the Non-Football Injury list. He could be activated at some point during the season, but I would be stunned if he was activated. Instead, he'll be around to compete in 2015 for a guard spot. Mike Iupati is signed through this season, and there has been no indication the 49ers will extend him. If he wants big guard money, I have to think it is unlikely.
Martin is a center, who could also potentially move out to guard if needed. However, Trent Baalke told the media Martin's first role would be learning center at the NFL level. He will compete with Daniel Kilgore. While Kilgore is likely the early front-runner, his recent contract extension is not so cost-prohibitive as to make it hard to remove him from the starting lineup. It should be a fierce competition later this summer.
Chris Borland, inside linebacker
The San Francisco 49ers will be without linebacker NaVorro Bowman for some stretch of time, and Borland brings additional competition to the group competing for that playing time. Behind NaVorro Bowman, the depth chart is as follows:
I think Wilhoite can handle Bowman's work, but Willis has suffered enough small injuries, that they were going to need some additional depth at the position. It will be a fascinating competition between Borland, Wilhoite, Moody and even potentially Fleming. And even once Bowman returns alongside Willis, they will not exactly be investing a ton of money in their backup ILBs.
Stevie Johnson, wide receiver
We could talk about this one for quite some time, and I'm certain we will. The 49ers added a big weapon to their wide receiver corps with the addition of Johnson. The depth chart was already solid for 2014, and this makes it kind of ridiculously so. At this point, I have to think Lloyd, Baldwin, Reed, Wylie, Sampson and Jacobs are pretty far down the totem pole. Crabtree, Boldin, Johnson and Patton are the top four on the depth chart. Osgood brings special teams to the table. Jacobs flashed some skills last preseason. Baldwin continues to hang around, but it's hard to tell what his future is. There will be competition, but the top of this depth chart is looking pretty locked in right now when add Johnson into the mix.