The San Francisco 49ers season has circled the drain the last two weeks, and Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks could very well provide the final knockout punch. With that in mind, we will be taking a deeper dive into draft preparation.
The college football regular season is just about a wrap (minus Army-Navy), which means bowl season gets going in short order. That is followed by the college football all star games, the Combine, campus workouts, team visits and then the draft.
One key aspect of preparation is figuring out the 49ers needs. The team will do plenty of best player available drafting, but there are some areas where they need to improve, be it through the draft or free agency. I've attached a poll at the end to see what people think is the top area of need. Additionally, Dan Kadar put together his top 100 big board over at Mocking The Draft. Give it a look to see who he thinks are among the best of the best heading into bowl seaosn.
This is always a tricky question to ask while the season is still going on. We know that free agency will provide some answers, but it will also potentially raise other questions. The 49ers have guys like Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Mike Iupati, Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver all hitting free agency. On the other hand, they also have a guy like Justin Smith who is signed for one more year, but could very well consider retirement.
Oh, and let's not forget the coaching/front office drama that has dominated the headlines. The 49ers could be looking at a coaching change this offseason, which could result in extensive turnover for the whole coaching staff. If Jim Harbaugh were to depart, we don't know exactly how much of his staff would leave with him, or potentially look for new opportunities. The 49ers entire coaching staff is signed through the 2015 season. If they promoted from within, maybe the staff stays fairly similar, maybe not. Who knows what that means for the 49ers given offensive and/or defensive system.
With all that in mind, what do you see the 49ers biggest need at this point, with what little knowledge we have?