The San Francisco 49ers have a variety of needs heading into the 2015 NFL Draft, ranging from potential starters to depth needs. We have seen mock drafts suggesting a variety of possibilities with the early picks, with cornerback, defensive line and wide receiver appearing the most frequently.
Bill Barnwell recently put together a look at each team's draft needs over at Grantland. For the 49ers, he said cornerback was the biggest need, and guard, defensive line and inside linebacker were other needs. Here is what he had to say in discussing the 49ers needs:
While the 49ers would have been a very reasonable candidate for football's deepest roster as recently as the beginning of the 2013 campaign, they've shed a staggering amount of talent over the past 12 months. That's most obvious at cornerback, where they let starters Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown leave last April, didn't bother to replace them, and then let backups-turned-starters Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox leave this past offseason. The 49ers signed Shareece Wright to a one-year deal, but the former Chargers corner didn't exactly turn heads in San Diego.
Trent Baalke spent first-round picks in 2013 (Eric Reid) and 2014 (Jimmie Ward) on safeties, so it might be tough for him to spend a third consecutive first-round pick in the secondary, especially with needs in the front seven, given the retirements of Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, and possibly Justin Smith. Baalke, who almost always finds a way to trade down and acquire more picks, should be able to find a cornerback or two before the end of the third round.
How significant do you view the need for cornerbacks in the upcoming draft? Right now, the starters would likely include Tramaine Brock and either Dontae Johnson or Shareece Wright. The team brought back Chris Cook, and of course has a pair of "medical redshirts" in Kenneth Acker and Keith Reaser.
There are plenty of questions about most of those guys, but there is also upside. While outsiders (including plenty of 49ers fans) consider the position a high need, could it be possible the 49ers are comfortable rolling the dice with this group? I suppose anything is possible, so "could" might not be the best term. A better handle on it might be, how likely is that possibility?
I think the team is more likely to address defensive line and wide receiver before getting to cornerback. I'm sure others disagree. I would even go so far as to say it would not surprise me to see them wait until day three at the cornerback position. What do you think?