Team Needs: San Francisco 49ers
NEEDS RATING KEY
5.0 - High priority. This is a position that is a glaring weakness and there is the likelihood that this team cannot compete next year without making a major addition here.
4.0 - Medium Priority. This is an area that is an obvious weakness, but the team isn't quite desperate to make a major move here possibly because they have some young potential. But this is an area that if the team cannot fix via free agency, will definitely use one of their picks in the first three or four rounds to supplement.
3.0 - Upgrade Potential. This is a position that isn't a weakness per se, but there is significant room for an upgrade. If the right player comes along they will certainly snag him, but if they don't fix this position with a major free agent addition or early round pick, then it's not the end of the world.
2.0 - Depth Need. An area where there is a need to add depth. Perhaps there is an aging veteran and they might want to start to look at grooming his heir apparent or replacement. Not likely to be a high priority and a position that more than likely will be address in the middle and late rounds rather than with a top pick.
1.0 - Future Need. This is an area that is not a priority, and doesn't initially appear as a need. But there is some room to develop some depth for perhaps two or more years down the line. This is usually an area that a team will look at in the late rounds if at all.
0.0 - Non-need. This is a position that is a strength of their team, they have a solid starter, capable depth, and/or a young player at the position that they like and want to develop. Very little possibility this area is addressed and would be the equivalent of a wasted draft pick.
Top 10 Needs
1. WR - 4.0
2. CB - 3.5
3. DT - 3.0
4. TE - 2.5
5. S - 2.5
6. OG - 2.0
7. OC - 1.5
8. OT - 1.5
9. DE - 1.5
10. RB - 1.5
Quarterback - Alex Smith's play in the postseason inspired a lot of confidence in the coaching staff that he's the man going forward for the immediate future. He's a free agent, but it's highly doubtful he goes anywhere else. That will also give Colin Kaepernick a much needed second year to develop. Harbaugh possesses a Shanahan-like confidence in his ability to coach up guys, so it's unlikely any major moves are made here. NEED: 1.0
Running Back - Kendall Hunter had a solid rookie year working behind Frank Gore, likely making them fairly comfortable here. Anthony Dixon was a disappointment which could prompt them to add another body to push him. NEED: 1.5
Fullback - Bruce Miller supplanted Moran Norris as their lead blocker and had a great rookie season considering he was a convert from defensive end. NEED: 0.0
Wide Receiver - Michael Crabtree's inconsistent hands could have him in the doghouse here. He has the talent to be a No. 1 receiver, but he's not really a dynamic playmaker, more of a possession guy. With Josh Morgan and Ted Ginn being free agents, they will likely look to add someone that can threaten the defense in free agency or early in the draft. NEED: 4.0
Tight End - Vernon Davis is their best receiver, and Delanie Walker is a nice H-back. But given the success of multi-TE sets in the NFL currently, and that Stanford was stacked at that position during Harbaugh's days there, it's possible they could be looking at upgrading that No. 2 spot behind Davis, which would also take pressure off their need to have a playmaker on the outside. NEED: 2.5
Offensive Tackle - Anthony Davis has yet to make major strides on the right side, and teh team could be looking at options to push him. They do seem to like Alex Boone quite a bit, and he could potentially be that answer. Staley put together one of his best seasons at the left tackle spot, answering any concerns about whether he could be a long-term solution there. NEED: 1.5
Offensive Guard - Chilo Rachal has struggled at right guard, and Adam Snyder wasn't much better. Both are free agents, although it appears Snyder is the likelier to return. He'll liekly be pushed by Daniel Kilgore next year, but they could also add another body to the mix. NEED: 2.0
Center - Jon Goodwin was a solid stopgap here, and the team added ex-Stanford center Chase Beeler after the season as a developmental option. They could upgrade this spot, but it's not a need given that Goodwin was more than serviceable. NEED: 1.5
Defensive Tackle - Isaac Sopoaga had a nice year at the nose, but he's better coming off the bench as a rotational guy than a strarter. Ricky Jean-Francois was a good substitute because he can put pressure on the QB. This is a position they could upgrade in free agency or the draft with an early round pick but it won't likely be a major priority. NEED: 3.0
Defensive End - Ray McDonald had a breakout year and Justin Smith is arguably the best 3-4 end in the league. The fact that Sopoaga and Jean-Francois can both play this spot means they aren't hurting for depth, but it never hurts to add more. NEED: 1.5
Linebacker - Aldon Smith is expected to take over for Parys Haralson as the starter across from Ahmad Brooks. Bowman and Willis each played at a Pro Bowl level inside. This gives them four good starters, and their depth should be OK with Haralson and Larry Grant returning. They could of course add more developmental guys in the middle/late part of the draft. NEED: 1.0
Cornerback - Carlos Rogers is a free agent, and is coming off a Pro Bowl season. But he turns 31 in July, and hasn't always been known for his consistency. They likely won't break the bank to keep him. That would leave a void here since Tarell Brown isn't exactly a No. 1 corner. Shawntae Spencer is expected to be axed, makign Chris Culliver and Tramaine Brock their next best options if they lose Rogers. This is likely to be a position they will definitely try to upgrade. NEED: 3.5
Safety - Donte Whitner had a solid year, and their tagging Dashon Goldson should keep them solid here for at least another year. C.J. Spillman is likely to take over the No. 3 spot if free agents Reggie Smith and Madieu Williams both walk, but is mostly a special teams stud. They could upgrade the depth here and provide insurance in case Goldson doesn't show more consistency in 2012. NEED: 2.5
Kicker - David Akers is getting up in years, but he had a very good year. Besides bringing in a young body to push him in cap, this isn't a need. NEED: 1.0
Punter - Andy Lee had an excellent year and has one of the strongest legs in the league. NEED: 0.0
Return Specialist - Ginn was excellent here, and should be retained as a free agent for this purpose alone. Kyle Williams has flashed ability as well and provides insurance. NEED: 1.0
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