After months, of build up, really dating back to the beginning of last year's college football season, the 2013 NFL Draft is just about upon us. The 49ers hold 13 picks, and with Trent Baalke's known proclivity for wheeling and dealing, this should be a fun and exciting three days of action. The 49ers are in a position to do virtually whatever they want, whether it be moving up in a given round, or moving back and adding 2014 picks.
We'll have wall-to-wall draft coverage over the coming days, but in the meantime, I thought I'd follow the lead of our New York Giants blog and create a Niners Nation San Francisco 49ers Draft Guide. This will include a compilation of information to get you ready for the draft. It will include some of the basics on viewing the draft, as well as a synopsis of information that we have all discussed over the last three months. The 49ers head into the draft with a championship-caliber roster, and the 2013 NFL Draft could both help put them over the top in 2013, and set them up for years to come.
The draft will be held from Thursday, April 25 to Saturday, April 27 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Round 1 -- Thursday, 5:00 p.m. PT -- 10 minutes per pick
Rounds 2 & 3 -- Friday, 3:30 p.m. PT -- 7 minutes per second round pick, 5 minutes per third round pick
Round 4-7 -- Saturday, 9:00 a.m. PT -- 5 minutes per pick
The draft will be televised by both ESPN and the NFL Network. ESPN and NFL Network media have indicate they will not tip every pick on Twitter. However, Jason LaCanfora, who works for CBS Sports has said he will tweet any and all information he gets, as he gets it. If you do not want to have picks spoiled before they are announced on television, stay off Twitter. Even if you unfollow LaCanfora, picks will spread through tweets and re-tweets. Don't complain if you see spoilers on Twitter.
49ers' Draft Choices
The 49ers have 13 selections over the three days. They are as follows (round followed by overall pick):
(1) 31. Own Pick
(2) 34. From Kansas City Chiefs via trade
(2) 61. Own Pick
(3) 74. From Carolina Panthers via trade
(3) 93. Own Pick
(4) 128.Own Pick
(4) 131. Compensatory pick
(5) 157. From Indianapolis Colts via trade
(6) 173. From Cleveland Browns via trade
(6) 180. From Miami Dolphins via trade
(7) 227. Own Pick
(7) 246. Compensatory pick
(7) 252. Compensatory pick
49ers' Draft Needs
Safety -- The 49ers let Dashon Goldson walk in free agency, following that by signing Craig Dahl in free agency. Safety has been a prominent position in many mock drafts, with Jonathan Cyprien, D.J. Swearinger and Kenny Vaccaro among the players on our radar. It is worth noting Donte Whitner is a free agent after 2013. The 49ers could elect to draft multiple safeties as they consider their future with Whitner.
Defensive Line -- I had considered separating this into nose tackle and defensive end, but the 49ers really are looking for versatile players that can do a little bit of everything. The team let Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois walk in free agency, signed Ian Williams to a contract extension and added Glenn Dorsey in free agency. Williams and Dorsey will get their chances in training camp to compete for nose tackle time.
At defensive end, Justin Smith and Ray McDonald have been stalwarts on the line, but they wore down by the end of last season, with Smith dealing with a torn triceps. They are a strong pair of bookends, but the 49ers need more depth, as well as somebody who will eventually replace Justin Smith. He has considered the coming end of his career, indicating he figured he had three or four more years prior to 2012.
What does this all mean? The 49ers are going to be looking for defensive line help, and I have to imagine they will be looking for versatility. They have been mentioned in connection with a whole host of players, including Jesse Williams, Jonathan Jenkins, Johnathan Hankins, Margus Hunt and Sheldon Richardson via trade.
Tight End -- The 49ers let Delanie Walker depart in free agency and signed Cameron Morrah. Vernon Davis is a great tight end, but the team uses mutliple tight ends enough that they will likely consider their options this week. Morrah will compete for playing time with Garrett Celek, but it is hard to tell if the team thinks Morrah can fill that versatile No. 2 TE role. We'll find out a lot more about that by the end of Saturday.
Cornerback -- The 49ers have a seemingly full house of cornerbacks, having added Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency. Nonetheless, Carlos Rogers' contract is only growing after this year, and Tarell Brown will hit free agency after this season. Trent Baalke has emphasized the team wants to be drafting for future need as opposed to immediate need, which would seem to indicate a cornerback could be added to the mix.
Wide Receiver -- This is somewhat similar to the cornerback position. The 49ers traded for Anquan Boldin, but even with a sizable wide receiver corps, there are enough question marks that the team may look to add some more depth. Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams are both recovering from injuries, with Manningham potentially out well into training camp.
The 49ers current starting lineup is strong, but the team has some depth issues. One of Jim Harbaugh's favorite phrases is "iron sharpens iron". Even though we view certain positions as having enough depth, I imagine we'll see a few picks for those positions. The team can always improve the talent level for now and the future, and this draft provides a lot of those kinds of opportunities.
Niners Nation NFL Draft Coverage
We have created a variety of content over the last three months.
NFL Draft Hub Page -- ALL of our draft content is in here. This will be the home for the next few days as picks and trades happen.
NFL Draft Super Group -- This contains all draft content from across the entire SB Nation network. You can learn about all 32 team's draft needs, strategy and rumors.
49ers Roster -- A look at the locks, bubble and long-shot players on the 49ers roster immediately preceding the 2013 NFL Draft (link coming shortly).
Prospect Scouting Reports -- Our front page stuff have provided a host of scouting reports on draft prospects. The 49ers could end up drafting none of these guys, but there is still plenty of interesting info about various prospects.
Niners Nation mock draft database -- A compilation of 40 mock drafts from around the Internet and whom they project to the 49ers.
Niners Nation Community Mock Draft -- Members of the Niners Nation community mocked out two rounds over the course of the last three weeks.
Consensus Top-400 big board -- User Poldarn put together a a big board that compiled 13 different sets of rankings and developed a consensus of the top 400 players. Great work in this FanPost.
49ers' Draft News and Rumors -- We are using this StoryStream to track everything going on that is remotely connected with the 49ers over the coming week.
Niners Nation Mock Drafts -- Trevor Woods and Nick Chiamardas put together four separate mock drafts over the last two months:
NN Mock 1.0
NN Mock 2.0
NN Mock 3.0
NN Mock 4.0
Nick also put together a complete 49ers mock draft, predicting players they will pick and trades they will make.