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The Shanaplan: Why the 49ers shouldn’t wait to select a safety in the NFL Draft

It’ll be tough to replace everything Jaquiski Tartt brought to the table

Cleveland Browns v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

During today’s episode of The Shanaplan, Akash and I discussed what Frank Gore’s role could look like in the front office with the 49ers. Picture “running backs coach Frank Gore” or “Director of Scouting Frank Gore.” Who is going to tell Gore that the running back he likes isn’t the best option for the team?

Speaking of the draft, everyone loves to select the best player available until it’s not at a position of need. That’s why, in my opinion, the 49ers can ill-afford to wait to draft a safety.

Jaquiski Tartt masked a lot on defense by doing the dirty work last year. The Niners could live in nickel because their safeties were interchangeable. That’s how you win in the NFL. You're not getting off the field if you have a safety who can tackle and make plays in the box but is susceptible in coverage.

It feels like in this draft, pick No. 61 presents the best value for selecting a safety. Could you find somebody in the later rounds? Of course. The odds of that prospect being as complete as a late second-rounder are slim to none.

DeMeco Ryans asked a lot out of his safeties. We saw last season that Talanoa Hufanaga was exposed in coverage. Sometimes, it meant when he was 1-on-1, while other times, Hufanga was a step slow and allowed a deep route.

It’s fair to assume the rookie will improve. But to what extent and if that’ll ever be to the level of Tartt is an entirely new discussion. If the Niners elect to wait on selecting a safety, it’ll be because they believe in the pieces on the roster.

They’re probably asking themselves whether they can get by with Samson Ebukam as their starting edge rusher playing heavy snaps or a combination of Tarvarius Moore, Hufanaga, George Odum, or whichever rookie they end up drafting as the starting safety.

It’s a fascinating discussion that we will have the answer to in just over three weeks. You can listen to the podcast in its entirety below:

Other topics include:

  • What Stefon Diggs’ contract means for Deebo Samuel (5:13)
  • What’s the biggest mistake the 49ers could make in this draft? (9:38)
  • My love for Georgia safety Lewis Cine (23:08)
  • Who will win the Masters? (25:54)