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Early Needs Assessment and Players to Watch

Sometimes the glaring needs are not so obvious until you look at the players that are expected to leave due to their contract expiring. And that applies to not just the players on contract years now, but players whose contracts expire after the 2014 season too. Right now, these are the areas of need I see for the 49ers (these are not listed in order), and players I like right now who we might want to target:

1. Wide Receiver - It is abundantly clear that we lack a vertical threat on this team to that can get open and take pressure off the short and intermediate routes. This may not be as big of a need if Baldwin proves to be that guy and steps up this season. Right now I see a lot of underclassmen likely to declare; the senior WR class is awful.

2. Offensive Line - Goodwin is not expected to come back, and it's not guarantee that Snyder does either. That leaves us with Staley, Boone, Iupati, Kilgore, and Davis as the starters with Looney as the only reserve from the 2013 active roster.

3. Cornerback - Rogers, Asomugha, and Brock may all be gone. Culliver is coming off a torn ACL. We clearly need some help. Morris may contribute next season, but we'll need some depth still.

4. Strong Safety - Whitner is OK in coverage, great against the run, and a ferocious hitter, but his contract is up and I'm not sure he'll be re-signed. There is no one on the roster worthy of taking his spot.

5. Defensive Line - With Ian Williams coming off a broken ankle, it would be wise to look at NT depth. Dorsey has filled in admirably so far, so we may bypass that, but I think we could use some more athleticism there. We DEFINITELY need DE depth. McDonald is tough but does get hurt. Justin Smith doesn't have much time life. Dial and Carradine are both coming off injuries. I don't recall, but I think Dobbs' contract is up as well after this season.

6. Pass Rush Depth - Since we love to trade all our OLB depth away, we are yet again in a hole here where we need to draft somebody, especially to keep us safe if Aldon messes up again...

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Players I like:
WR
Sammy Watkins-Clemson, 6-1 200 4.47*
Devin Street-Pitt, 6-3 192. 4.56

OL
Spencer Long-OG-Nebraska, 6-4 315 5.16
Brandon Thomas-OG-Clemson, 6-3 315 5.24

CB
Darqueeze Dennard-Michigan State, 5-11 197 4.52
Kyle Fuller-Virginia Tech, 6-0 190 4.45

SS
Craig Loston-LSU, 6-1 209 4.45
Ty Zimmerman-Kansas State, 6-1 205 4.57 (in the mid-later rounds)

DL
DaQuan Jones-NT-Penn State, 6-3 333 5.18
Taylor Hart-DE-Oregon, 6-6 287 4.92

OLB
Larry Webster-Bloomsburg, 6-6 240 4.67
IK Enemkpali-Louisiana Tech, 6-1 250 4.78
Good list OTC.

I also Like Zimmeman and Loston. Also DaQuan Jones impressed me last week.

I would add to WR Allen Robinson and Paul Richardson. I love Watkins, but would take a huge trade of future picks to get him, doubt we would do this.

Dennard is one of my favorite CBs, also Gilbert, and Bennett Jackson.

Taylor Hart is a guy I haven't looked at yet. Not sure we draft a DE though. Tank and Dial should be the backups. But we may want 7 so it's possible.
Really want Watkins on the 49ers!
I was thinking about the safety position, and to me I feel we're in a versatile position.

Reid has many of the attributes you would look for in a SS. Do you think it would make sense to draft another FS and move Reid to SS?

I think the secondary would benefit greatly from another free safeties coverage skills and we would still have a completely competent SS. It's like getting the best of both worlds.

Having another safety like Ed Reynold, or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, would give us one of the best coverage backfields in the league I feel. In Clinton-Dix's case we're getting another thumper too.
Major Needs:
CB - Only Rogers and Culliver are under contract after this year. Brown, Asomugha, Cox, Brock are all FA's. Rogers will likely have to restructure or get cut. I think we try to re-sign Brown but he could go elsewhere for more money. Could leave just Culliver under contract for 2014. I could see Cox and/or Brock back as well. I think we have to double dip early if Brown and/or Rogers is gone.

SS - Whitner could be gone after this season. Don't think Spillman or Dahl are the future. Likely round 1 or 2 need.

WR - Boldin, Manningham, Williams, Moore are all free agents after this year. Leaves us with Crabtree, Baldwin and Patton for next year. Depending on who is back could be a need by round 3 or earlier. Might have to double dip if Boldin and Manningham are gone.

C? - Goodwin will likely be gone to save money and get younger. Depending on if they believe in Kilgore or not could be a high need.

Possible Depth Needs:
DE/NT, 3rd T, 3rd QB, C/G Depth?, Kicker?

Potential Outlooks:
1.CB 2.SS 2.WR 3.CB 3.WR 3.Goldson Comp? C/DL Depth/OL Depth
1.WR 2.SS 2.CB 3.WR 3.CB 3.Goldson Comp? C/DL Depth/OL Depth

Snyder signed a 2 year deal so if he plays well he will be back next year. He isn't a FA. No way in h do I move Reid if he plays well at FS. Why move a guy playing well at FS to SS when FS is a lot more valuable. That being said when we choose our SS of the future I'm looking for a guy who can cover more so than a run defender. We have plenty of guys on the front 7 for that. I'd like to see a SS that can cover TE's, WR's and RB's. As for WR we could use some speed. Maybe one possession guy and one deep threat. As for QB I could see us signing a vet or going with a mid-late round project with a big arm who is mobile.

Depth Chart Guess:
QB (3): Kap, Daniels, Vet/Rookie
RB (4): Gore, Hunter, Lattimore, James (Lattimore #2 Eventually. Gore potentially restructures/takes pay cut.)
FB (1): Miller
TE (3): Davis, McDonald, Celek/Harper
WR (6): Crabtree, Boldin, Patton, Baldwin, High Pick, Harper? (Crabtree, Baldwin, Patton, High Pick, Harper, Rookie. Harper TE or WR?)
OL (8): Staley, Iupati, Kilgore, Boone, Davis, Snyder, 3rd T (Marquardt/Rookie), C/G (Looney/Rookie)
DL (7): McDonald, Williams, Smith, Dorsey, Carradine, Dial, Rookie
ILB (4): Willis, Bowman, Wilhoite/Moody/Stupar (2 of 3, Depends if Wilhoite gets re-signed. Could be Moody #3, Stupar #4)
OLB (4): Smith, Brooks, Lemonier, Skuta
CB (5): Culliver, Rogers/High Pick, Cox?, Brock/Rookie, Vet
S (5): Reid, High Pick, Spillman, Dahl, Ventrone
ST 3: Lee, McDermott, Dawson/Vet/Pick

I think hardest to do was the WR since we don't know if Harper is a WR or TE and also who will all be back. CB's as well could be a lot of new faces.
[ Edited by Gore_21 on Sep 28, 2013 at 12:25 PM ]
VERY interesting.

Are there any OT's worth taking in rounds 3-5 that would be excellent back-ups and grow into starter caliber players?
Backup QB should be on list
Originally posted by Gore_21:
Major Needs:
CB - Only Rogers and Culliver are under contract after this year. Brown, Asomugha, Cox, Brock are all FA's. Rogers will likely have to restructure or get cut. I think we try to re-sign Brown but he could go elsewhere for more money. Could leave just Culliver under contract for 2014. I could see Cox and/or Brock back as well. I think we have to double dip early if Brown and/or Rogers is gone.

SS - Whitner could be gone after this season. Don't think Spillman or Dahl are the future. Likely round 1 or 2 need.

WR - Boldin, Manningham, Williams, Moore are all free agents after this year. Leaves us with Crabtree, Baldwin and Patton for next year. Depending on who is back could be a need by round 3 or earlier. Might have to double dip if Boldin and Manningham are gone.

C? - Goodwin will likely be gone to save money and get younger. Depending on if they believe in Kilgore or not could be a high need.

Possible Depth Needs:
DE/NT, 3rd T, 3rd QB, C/G Depth?, Kicker?

Potential Outlooks:
1.CB 2.SS 2.WR 3.CB 3.WR 3.Goldson Comp? C/DL Depth/OL Depth
1.WR 2.SS 2.CB 3.WR 3.CB 3.Goldson Comp? C/DL Depth/OL Depth

Snyder signed a 2 year deal so if he plays well he will be back next year. He isn't a FA. No way in h do I move Reid if he plays well at FS. Why move a guy playing well at FS to SS when FS is a lot more valuable. That being said when we choose our SS of the future I'm looking for a guy who can cover more so than a run defender. We have plenty of guys on the front 7 for that. I'd like to see a SS that can cover TE's, WR's and RB's. As for WR we could use some speed. Maybe one possession guy and one deep threat. As for QB I could see us signing a vet or going with a mid-late round project with a big arm who is mobile.

Depth Chart Guess:
QB (3): Kap, Daniels, Vet/Rookie
RB (4): Gore, Hunter, Lattimore, James (Lattimore #2 Eventually. Gore potentially restructures/takes pay cut.)
FB (1): Miller
TE (3): Davis, McDonald, Celek/Harper
WR (6): Crabtree, Boldin, Patton, Baldwin, High Pick, Harper? (Crabtree, Baldwin, Patton, High Pick, Harper, Rookie. Harper TE or WR?)
OL (8): Staley, Iupati, Kilgore, Boone, Davis, Snyder, 3rd T (Marquardt/Rookie), C/G (Looney/Rookie)
DL (7): McDonald, Williams, Smith, Dorsey, Carradine, Dial, Rookie
ILB (4): Willis, Bowman, Wilhoite/Moody/Stupar (2 of 3, Depends if Wilhoite gets re-signed. Could be Moody #3, Stupar #4)
OLB (4): Smith, Brooks, Lemonier, Skuta
CB (5): Culliver, Rogers/High Pick, Cox?, Brock/Rookie, Vet
S (5): Reid, High Pick, Spillman, Dahl, Ventrone
ST 3: Lee, McDermott, Dawson/Vet/Pick

I think hardest to do was the WR since we don't know if Harper is a WR or TE and also who will all be back. CB's as well could be a lot of new faces.

Good stuff as usual bud. Cox is a RFA would only cost 1.4M to tender. worth it if he proves capable as a Returner and 3rd or 4th CB.

Nnamdi may be back if Rogers is gone. But doubt it.

All the rest looks good. Hope we can keep MM if he produces and comes back near 100%.
Originally posted by AB81Rules:
Good stuff as usual bud. Cox is a RFA would only cost 1.4M to tender. worth it if he proves capable as a Returner and 3rd or 4th CB.

Nnamdi may be back if Rogers is gone. But doubt it.

All the rest looks good. Hope we can keep MM if he produces and comes back near 100%.

Yeah out of Manningham, Moore, and Williams Manningham is the only one I would want back. He is the best WR out of the 3 by far. Just a shame about his injury. We might have had #6 if he didn't get hurt. If he can come back healthy, stay healthy and contribute I'd think about re-signing him. Hopefully he would come back real cheap if we want him back. Cox might be worth 1.4 if he can take over PR/KR and do well there. Would also have to be the #3/4 to be worth that. On that note though why is Cox not the #1 PR/KR? Enough with Williams, Hunter and James. Nnamdi just not sure... he hasn't been bad but he definitely lost speed. Not sure I'd count on him at a another year older. Maybe for really cheap. I don't know if we want Culliver, Cox and like 3 rookies at CB. Could look at an outside vet. I don't see us going after a whole lot of outside guys. Maybe a few bargain guys like last year. Should be pretty quiet and just work on a few of our guys as usual. Hopefully we save up for after 2014 free agency. All those guys a lot more important than our 2014 FA's. Iupati, Crabtree, Kap, Culliver, Miller, Hunter and then Aldon unless we use that 2015 option. Hopefully we spend next offseason working on extending some of those guys and not worrying about bringing in too many outsiders and bringing back most of our 2014 guys. Wilhoite, Cox, potentially Brock, potentially Manningham should all be fairly cheap. I think the main concern will be Boldin and Brown and if they are willing to accept friendly deals. Boldin probably, Brown I wouldn't blame him for getting paid. He's been really underpaid for many years like Goldson was.

Everyone else we will likely move on from. Dixon might be able to go elsewhere and get more money and a bigger role. Don't see room for 5 RBs. Goodwin I would consider back for a few mil, friendly deal but he could go elsewhere and get more. I think we move on get cheaper and younger with Kilgore and maybe draft someone 3rd or later to compete with him. Whitner I think we move on from even though he's a decent vet; just have to hope we can hit on a SS in the draft like we seem to have with Reid. Everyone else not a big deal.... Williams, Moore, Dobbs, McCoy, Dawson (depending on how he does rest of the year) and Wright (depends on if he plays with us and how he does). Again, though I'm not going to really sweat over anyone because like I said I think Brown is already gone for more money unfortunately. Boldin would be nice but would only be for a year, maybe 2... he's not the future. Eventually we need to hit on a draft pick and get our #2 and potentially a Crabtree replacement.
[ Edited by Gore_21 on Sep 28, 2013 at 3:32 PM ]