San Francisco 49ers 2012 Draft Team Needs
Under first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh, the San Francisco 49ers returned to prominence, finishing 13-3 on their way to the NFC West title. Middle linebacker duo Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman–both first-team All-Pros–helped lead the 49ers to the league’s top rush defense, as well as second in points allowed. However, they suffered a tragic overtime loss at home in the NFC Championship Game to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Though the 49ers did not get Peyton Manning, Alex Smith–who flourished for the first time in his career under Harbaugh–will once again be the starter. To help him, the team signed wide receivers Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, as well as bringing in running back Brandon Jacobs.
The 49ers may be the favorites in the NFC for 2012, but they are not perfect. Here are the positions they should look to improve in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft:
Offense: OL, WR
The 49ers are set at all the skill positions on offense, and, with the loss of guard Adam Snyder in free agency, their only true need is the offensive line. Smith and running back Frank Gore are going to need solid blocking in order to have success, especially in the red zone, an area that the offense performed poorly in last season. With the pick No. 30 in the draft, they could look at Georgia’s Cordy Glenn or Wisconsin’s Kevin Zeitler to fill the gap at guard.
Wide receiver isn’t a major concern at the moment due to the addition of Randy Moss and Mario Manningham via free agency. However, Moss is 35 and on a one-year deal, and Michael Crabtree hasn’t proven to be a consistent threat yet. San Francisco is unlikely to go after an elite receiver with their first-round anymore, but they could use some depth and a guy to groom. Look for them to snag a receiver to mold in the middle rounds. Chris Givens or Tommy Streeter are two names that pop out that could be around.
Defense: DL, CB
In order to rotate the line and keep players fresh, the 49ers need to pick up another defensive lineman, primarily at defensive end. All-Pro Justin Smith, as well as other starters Ray McDonald and Isaac Sopoaga, will need to rest occasionally; the risk of an injury is always present, too. The 49ers could use an additional defensive back as well, but the signings of Carlos Rogers and Perrish Cox at cornerback and C.J. Spillman at safety don’t make this a concerning need.
To a lesser degree, the 49ers still have depth concerns at corner and are a bit long in the tooth at this position. They’ve had secondary issues in the past and are just shoring that up, so they should play it safe and add some depth at some point in the draft.
Michael Cellars currently attends Kent State University, where he is majoring in English with minors in writing and psychology. In addition to his studies, he serves in the Ohio Army National Guard. During his free time, he surrounds himself with as much of the NFL as possible, and writes for football websites NFL Soup and Football Nation. Michael’s favorite team is the Green Bay Packers, who he has been an avid fan for his entire life.