With most of the best players on the NFL free agent market signed, the biggest moves of the San Francisco 49ers offseason seem behind them. With that said, the NFL Draft is less than a month away, and will obviously spark plenty of action. Here’s a quick look at the roster’s five biggest area of needs looking ahead to the draft.
The 49ers finally have a kicker on the roster after acquiring Zane Gonzalez from the Panthers. Gonzalez has solid numbers across five NFL seasons (94.8% XP% and 80.5% FG%), but remains a fringe option. He has been waived by three different teams during his career, and has finished two seasons on the injured reserve. After missing the entire 2022 campaign, the Niners cannot roll into camp without some competition at placekicker.
2. Right tackle
With Mike McGlinchey now a member of the Broncos, the 49ers are currently looking at a competition between Matt Pryor, Jaylon Moore, and Colton McKivitz to replace him at right tackle. All three saw action at tackle last season, and the Niners staff has been talking up McKivitz for months now. However, Dan Brunskill’s departure solidifies Spencer Burford as the team’s starting right guard next season. Burford was solid for a rookie fourth-round pick, but was far from elite. The 49ers could use some more upside at right tackle.
The 49ers depth at corner has seemingly been tested by injuries every year of Kyle Shanahan’s tenure. So even though Mooney Ward, Deommodore Lenoir, and Ed Oliver seem like a passable starting trio of corners with Ambry Thomas and Samuel Womack set to be the top backups, they should bring a few more options into training camp. The Niners have done an incredible job finding corners late in the draft, but don’t be surprised if they use one of their first picks on a defensive back this year.
4. Edge rusher
No starting defensive line in the NFL stacks up to the 49ers, who are slated to start Nick Bosa, Javon Hargrave, and Arik Armstead. However, the starting spot on the opposite edge from Bosa is wide open. 2022 second-round pick Drake Jackson is currently slated to compete with Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell for the spot, but with the Niners choosing to make Jackson a healthy scratch late last season, it seems like they will want to bring in another body or two.
5. Tight end
The Niners could create nearly $10 million in salary cap space by trading George Kittle after next season, which may seem unimaginable on the surface, but with Brandon Aiyuk do for an extension, one of San Francisco’s formidable pass catchers is probably on the way out. However, neither Charlie Woerner or Ross Dwelley have emerged as future options. Even if they had, both are set to be free agents after this season. Plus, who doesn’t want to see what Shanahan draws up with another viable pass-catching tight end?