San Francisco has the thirty-first pick, courtesy of being in the Super Bowl. They made a big jump from being near the bottom to almost winning a championship in one year. More will be expected and they should have another strong season.
The 49ers have seven picks in the draft: two firsts, no second, no third, no fourth, two fifths, a sixth, and two sevenths. They have an extra first-round pick from the DeForest Buckner deal, and they traded their second to Kansas City for Dee Ford. They traded their third and fourth-round picks to Denver in the Emmanuel Sanders deal, which they received Denver’s fifth-round pick.
I list the needs below, including major, for depth, and areas they are unlikely to look at. I may add categories for a particular situation.
Major Needs (No Particular Order):
Wide Receiver: They made a good choice with Deebo Samuel in the second round. They will need someone to step up since Emmanuel Sanders left for New Orleans via free agency. Third-round pick Jalen Hurd is a possibility after missing the year. Travis Benjamin was signed as a free agent from the Chargers. Others in the picture may be Kendrick Bourne, Richie James, and Marquise Goodwin. The thinking is this position will be addressed, perhaps early.
Offensive Line: The line did a good enough job to get the 49ers to the Super Bowl. Left tackle Joe Staley will be 36 and hope he has another year in him. While the line was generally healthy, left guard Laken Tomlinson was the only one to play all 16 games. Weston Richburg is the center and replaced by Ben Garland for three games and the playoffs. The right tackle is Mike McGlinchey, the top pick in 2018. Right guard is where things are unsettled. Mike Person was released and the favorites at this point to replace him are Daniel Brunskill and Tom Compton, a free agent signing from the Jets. Ross Reynolds may also have a say in the matter. At tackle, Justin Skule started several games at tackle, while Shon Coleman was on injured reserve. They should draft a tackle as insurance of Staley retiring and they could get a guard in the middle rounds.
Linebacker: The top player is Fred Warner in the middle. Kwon Alexander and fifth-round pick Dre Greenlaw manned the outside positions. Azeez Al-Shaair also started some games as a rookie free agent. Mark Nzeocha and Joey Alfieri are on the roster, while Joe Walker signed as a free agent from Arizona. This can use a player to potentially start and supply depth.
Cornerback: This an area that can get better. Richard Sherman played at a high level at one corner. The other corner had Ahkhello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley starting. St. Joe’s (Montvale) alum K’Wuan WIlliams is one of the better nickel corners around. Others include Dante Johnson, Jason Verrett, and DJ Reed. Sherman, Williams, and Witherspoon are all playing on expiring contracts this year, which makes drafting a cornerback more of a need, in addition to simply improving the position.
Safety: They have a good duo of Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward. Behind them are Marcell Harris and Tavarius Moore. Tartt can become a free agent after this year, making it a good idea to pick one for depth and in case he leaves.
Quarterback: Since Jimmy Garoppolo had his first start in 2017, the 49ers are 19-5 in games he played and 3-10 in games he didn’t play. While it may be a little misleading, it indicates his value to the team. There are able substitutes in Nick Mullens and CJ Beathard. If they draft here, it is for depth purposes.
Running Back: The 49ers used a committee backfield of Raheem Mostert, Matthew Breida, and Tevin Coleman. Together, they rushed for 1,936 yards and averaged 4.8 yards a carry. The wild card in all this is Jerick McKinnon, who signed a big contract before missing the last two seasons with an ACL tear and complications from it. If healthy, he can be a weapon. Jeff Wilson Jr is also available, while Kyle Juszczyk plays a big role as the fullback. This is a very deep area and they can get by with not making a pick here.
Tight End: George Kittle was first team All-Pro in his third season. But there isn’t a lot behind him. In reserve are Ross Dwelley and Daniel Helm. Garrett Celek retired and Levine Toilolo left for the Giants in free agency. A second tight end to give more rest for Kittle is what the 49ers want; expect one to be picked.
Defensive Line: The biggest news was the trade of DeForest Buckner to Indianapolis for the thirteenth pick in the draft. The line has bookends on the outside in Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead, with Dee Ford rotating in. Kentavius Street is a reserve end. The tackles look like it will be Solomon Thomas and DJ Jones. Sheldon Day and Anthony Zettel went elsewhere in free agency, while Earl Mitchell is unsigned. A tackle will be useful for depth and potentially playing in a rotation.
*Information from various sources, including Pro-Football Reference, Sportac, and ESPN.