We all can agree (or hope at the very least) that the 49ers won’t get another chance like they have in 2019 for draft purposes. That chance is the No. 2 pick and a shot at filling a huge need. During the season, even in the preseason, the hole that burned through the team was need of a constant edge-rusher. Cassius Marsh is not the answer. Yes, he had five sacks for 2018, but 2.5 of those came against the Oakland Raiders and two others came against the Chicago Bears. That says more about the Raiders and the Bears than it does about Marsh.
The 49ers need edge-rushing help. They also need a lot of other things. Michael Renner at Pro Football Focus put together a rundown of the No. 1 need of each team heading into the 2019 draft. The result is a bit surprising, because the need of the 49ers is safety:
The 49ers had six different players register at least 300 snaps at safety this season, and not a single one earned a coverage grade higher than 64.0. Four of the six allowed a passer rating higher than 125.0 in their coverage.
Well, part of the reason for the six different players is because the unit found a way to get injured every other week. If any position besides quarterback got kicked in the proverbial head, it’s safety. The 49ers were playing backups of backups at several points in the season, and when you do that my friends, it’s not going to end well.
That said, safety is a definite need for the reasons outlined above. Durability is a big concern with the likes of Jaquiski Tartt, who plays well...when healthy. Jimmie Ward was able to spell things but he has his own injury issues. Adrian Colbert showed a lot of promise to end 2017, but his brief play in 2018 before going on IR was average.
Safety does seem like an area of need, it’s also an area receiving the unlucky bite of a snake for injuries. D.J. Reed and Marcell Harris were brought in, and both weren’t bad for rookies, but I don’t think anyone is ready to crown them as the answer at the position just yet.
The 49ers have invested in safety and it seems like they just can’t get anything dependable with the health issues. Maybe another high-pick is in order or maybe free agency is the route to go, but do you see safety as the 49ers number one need?