This is the time for countless mocks. No doubt I'm working on mines. But imma wait until after the combine before I reveal my mock. But I do think there is a "by position" need for the 49ers. We are a very deep team with not many holes to fill. In fact I doubt we will draft an actual starter out of this draft. Basically, our draftees will be red-shirted and groomed. I narrowed it down to 16 main positions on the field. (I say 16 because CB, OG, and OF have two. I don't include OLB.) Of those positions this is how I see our needs, from most needed to the least needed:
1 – DT/DE
Cowboy has at least one good year left, maybe two. This is a great time to bring a guy in for Cowboy to take under his wing and groom for a year or two. I actually thought we'd address this position last season, but I highly doubt we pass on it this season.
2 – NT
I like Isaac Sopoaga. He's very much unsung and underrated. But he's getting older and it's showing. RJF is pretty a good swing guy along the D-line but I'm not sure about him as an every down NT. I think our 3-4 D-line clearly needs a true 0 technique two-gapper to really clog the middle up.
3 – WR
Boy was I wrong about A.J. Jenkins. Chad Hall took away catches from him, during these playoffs for crying out loud. Either he's a bust, was over drafted, or simply isn't ready. In any event, behind Crabs we still don't have a clear #2. If either Williams or Manningham were healthy this position would be down the list. But with those injuries, and with A.J. not living up to expectations I gotta believe we get a WR somewhere in the middle rounds. Plus, I don't see Randy with the 49ers next season.
4 – CB
Many may disagree with me here but I think if we have a weak link in our secondary it's with Carlos Rogers. Plus, Rogers is 31. Cully has proven his talent but also has proven his inconsistency. This is one position that I hope we package some picks to move up in the draft to get a CB with shut-down potential. (We have 14 picks for this draft. No doubt there will be some dealing.)
5 – FS
I think we re-sign Goldson. Behind our two safeties the pickings are slim. Trent Robinson and C.J. Spillman are good ST guys but I wouldn't say they are starter material, at least not yet. As I stated I'm gonna wait until the combine is done before I reveal my mock draft. But I will say that we have got to get Bacarri Rambo in a 49ers uniform, even if we have to move up to get him. I doubt he lasts past late 3rd – mid 4th round. This kid is strikingly similar to Goldson – aggressive, prowls the middle, and LOVES to hit. We gotta have this kid.
6 – K
I think this should be obvious. I don't know what gotten into the head of Akers but we can ill-afford to not address this need in the draft.
7 – SS
See number 5. Behind our 2 starting safeties it's pretty thin. Donte Whitner is signed through 2014, and will be pushing 30 when his contract run through. We will be in prime position to nab this Rambo kid. He fits this defense to a T. I think Rambo can play SS or FS.
8 – RB
On this team I don't think we can have enough RBs. I think Gore has about one or two seasons left in him. (If we win the SB I wouldn't be at all surprised if Gore retired.) Clearly, Hunter is the guy going forward, and LMJ clearly has a strangle hold on the number 2 slot (when Gore retires). But I really think that a 3rd back would be very good. Dixon has turned into a reliable short yardage guy.
9 – TE
I have a feeling that Delanie Walker won't be resigned. If that be the case then we definitely address this spot somewhere in the draft, someone of the Delanie Walker mold – a fast H-back/TE who can catch and block.
10 – OT
This is a spot that I have had my fingers crossed on all season. Behind Staley and Davis there is an obvious lack of depth.
11 – OG
The same could be said about our OG spot as our OT spot, but not as much. We have a starter who can move to OT in a pinch. I highly doubt Leonard Davis will be in the NFL next season. Kilgore is Center of the future. Looney is still in grooming. If we can get one more good OG I think we'd be set for years to come at that position.
12 – OLB
I know we drafted Cam Johnson and Darius Fleming to provide the depth we need at OLB but they were injured. Parys Haralson starts on most teams and still has a lot in the tank, so I doubt he'll wanna resign to be a backup. Clark Haggans is 36.
13 – ILB
I doubt we get lucky this season with Larry Grant. Like Parys Haralson, Grant starts on most teams, and deservingly so. Tavares Gooden is a beast on ST but he is no Larry Grant at ILB. I'm hoping we find a late round gem to fill the almost certain Grant vacancy. Other than that this position is well spoken for.
14 – QB
I'd be shocked if we spent a draft pick on a QB this season, though I do foresee us finding some young talent off the FA street – rookie or vet. Depends on who falls out of the draft. I'm positive we'll still keep 3 QB's in 2013. I wouldn't mind seeing a young talented project come in and push Tolzen a little. I wouldn't even mind seeing Josh Johnson back in the mix for the #2 spot.
15 – FB
Miller has a firm hold here. Plus Dixon has bought into what Rathman and JH wants out of him. If we bring in a FB he'll just be a camp body, maybe a PS guy.
16 – P
Pro-Bowler Andy Lee has this locked down for the foreseeable future.
Like I said, we have 14 picks in the upcoming draft:
1. First round: Own pick
2. Second round:Own pick
3. Third round: Own pick
4. Third round: From Carolina in trade-back during 2012 draft
5. Third round: Likely compensatory selection
6. Fourth round: Own pick
7. Fifth round: Own pick
8. Fifth round: From Indianapolis in trade-back during 2012 draft
9. Sixth round: Own pick
10. Sixth round: From Miami in trade-back during 2012 draft
11. Seventh round: Own pick
12. Seventh round: From Cincinnati for Taylor Mays
13. Seventh round: Likely compensatory selection
14. Seventh round: Likely compensatory selection
But with zero starting jobs up for grabs I highly doubt we actually draft 14 guys. There's gonna be some serious battles for depth positions. I suspect we do a lot of wheeling and dealing. And I fully expect Alex Smith to be dealt for at least a 2nd rounder. If we draft all 14 picks we are gonna have the most talented PS in the history of the NFL, and it'll get raided un-miraculously. The only way we get a starter out of this draft is if Goldson don't resign (doubt it, and even still slim) or through injury.