The San Francisco 49ers have a whole host of needs as the 2018 offseason gets underway. They need help on some level at cornerback, guard, maybe center, potentially running back pending Carlos Hyde, wide receiver, edge rusher, and linebacker. Quarterback is not a need for the moment, as Jimmy Garoppolo will almost assuredly be back and likely with a new contract, but a wrong move there could certainly change that.
CBS Sports put together their latest 2018 NFL mock draft, and in it they have the 49ers picking Florida State safety Derwin James in the first round. They describe James as a “Swiss Army knife” type of player following a career that saw him play at virtually every level of the defense.
James, like Minkah Fitzpatrick, is a guy who brings incredible versatility to the field. If the 49ers felt compelled to add him, he likely would be used in a variety of ways outside of safety. He could end up getting safety playing time, but with the 49ers depth there, they might decide it’s best to mix him around the field.
But that did get me thinking about the 49ers needs. Is there any position right now that you think can be scratched off the list for the first round? Although Jimmy Garoppolo is not technically under contract yet for 2018, odds are pretty good he will be back. Barring something drastic, we can probably cross quarterback off the board. And of course, we can cross of kicker and punter.
But beyond those, what other positions are you comfortable crossing off? Safety might come close, but that would not foreclose more versatile options like James and Fitzpatrick. I could also see defensive tackle being considerably lower on the priority list. The 49ers need edge rushers, but their defensive interior is in strong shape.
The 49ers likely have book-end tackles in Joe Staley and Trent Brown, but even that is not a sure thing. Brown is entering the final season of his rookie contract, and Staley is getting up there in years. One option might be drafting a tackle they think can play guard in the short term. That’s not a simple transition, but it could be on the radar.
What positions are you comfortable crossing off the draft board for the first round?