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Trent Baalke: Justin Smith retirement decision likely will not have significant impact on draft

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The San Francisco 49ers await Justin Smith's retirement decision, but Trent Baalke does not think it impacts their draft plans.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have still not gotten a decision from Justin Smith regarding his potential retirement, but it likely will not have a significant impact on the 2015 NFL Draft. General manager Trent Baalke acknowledged that even if Smith returns, the team knows he is a short-time player.

The 49ers have several young options along the line as they prepare for a future without Justin Smith (and eventually Darnell Dockett). Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial are the two most notable, but they will also look to work in Kaleb Ramsey. He spent all last season on the PUP list, and will hopefully be able to stay healthy this whole offseason into training camp. The team also has Tony Jerod-Eddie, but it seems like he is ticketed to primarily a depth role.

The 49ers have been frequently connected to Arik Armstead this offseason, and even brought him in for a visit. He is a raw prospect, but if Smith were to return, the 49ers could be Armstead's best bet to develop. He would have two notable veterans in Smith and Dockett, as well as head coach and former defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. It's certainly possible Armstead would not be able to make the transition, but if there is one situation that could work to his benefit, it would seem to be the 49ers.

And it could happen whether or not Justin Smith returns to the 49ers.