The San Francisco 49ers appeared to address one need this past week when they signed center/guard Daniel Kilgore to a 3-year extension. I don't think that it guarantees they don't consider a center in free agency or the draft, but Kilgore would seem to be the front-runner for now. It's almost similar to the 2-year extension Ian Williams received last offseason. The 49ers brought in Glenn Dorsey as well, but Ian Williams claimed the job out of camp. The Dorsey signing proved important when Williams went down with a broken ankle.
As the 49ers approach free agency, what do you now consider the top five needs for the 49ers? Recently the blog manager for the NFL sites asked for our input on the top five needs for each team. Initially i included interior offensive line, but I decided to remove it from the top five when Kilgore signed his extension. Here is the top five I included:
2. Strong Safety
3. Wide Receiver
4. Backup quarterback
5. Inside linebacker
The first three spots could easily change depending on how the team approaches their own free agents. If Anquan Boldin signs a new contract, wide receiver remains a need, but not quite as big. If Boldin leaves the team, wide receiver becomes a significant need area.
The secondary is a need, but how much so will likely be determined in the early days of free agency. If Donte Whitner re-signs with the 49ers, strong safety likely moves off the list for the time being. The 49ers might still look for some options to develop behind Whitner, but extending Whitner means little additional free agency money on the position, and not much more in the draft.
At cornerback, we still don't know what the team has planned with Carlos Rogers. If they release him, they are left with Tramaine Brock, Chris Culliver, Darryl Morris and Dax Swanson. Maybe Tarell Brown ends up returning, but for now, that is a tough call. I think I listed the need first with the assumption that Rogers would end up leaving. I have to think that decision is made fairly quickly. Or at least, we hear something about the decision fairly early on. If they decided to release Rogers, I don't think they'd wait several weeks and potentially screw him out of some opportunities on the open market. They have that right to, but I think they would do right by Rogers and release him either before free agency starts, or in the first day or two.
I went with inside linebacker on the list because I am not entirely sure how the 49ers view their current situation. We know NaVorro Bowman will miss the offseason workout program and some of training camp. The odds are pretty good he opens the season on the PUP list. That opens the door for Michael Wilhoite and Nick Moody to show what they can do, but I wonder if the team will look at a veteran option to provide some competition, and potentially fill in on special teams if Wilhoite secures the starting ILB job next to Patrick Willis.
Would you include other positions? Would you rank them differently? I can see how interior offensive line might rank ahead of ILB. But other than that, what do you think?