Last year the 49ers lost 4 solid players before the 2013 draft:
S: Dashon Goldson
TE: Delanie Walker
DE: Ricky Jean Francois
*ST: Ted Ginn
Heading into the 2013 draft, NT was a ? mark with an unproven Ian Williams and undersized Glenn Dorsey. There was a gaping hole at Safety and a gaping hole at the 2nd TE spot, that did not get truly filled. We didn't sign any back-up DE's, and we all missed Ted Ginn's punt returning ability.
Prior to the 2014 draft the 49ers have lost 2 solid players and 2 declining players (Goodwin & Rogers), but Whitner was replaced by a quality starter in free agency:
CB: Tarell Brown
CB: Carlos Rogers (but should be upgraded)- Return of Chris Culliver may negate the loss of Carlos Rogers.
C: Jonathon Goodwin- was aging and declining. Kilgore, Looney or Snyder may be upgrades.
S: Lost Whitner, BUT replaced by S Antoine Bethea.
Heading into the 2014 draft 49ers have:
1.) Rookies and young players on the roster that have 1 more year of experience under their belts.
2.) The "Redshirt squad" who had a year to heal and learn: Quinton Dial, Tank Carradine, Lawrence Okoye, Marcus Lattimore, Luke Marquardt
3.) The young "2nd chance squad," who can start the learning process now, 2 months before rookies: Blaine Gabbert, Jonathon Martin, Chris Cook and Baldwin.
4.) A deeper draft and fewer needs and players to replace. 49ers have fewer positions of need. Only need CB and WR.
5.) Once again have a plethora of picks and can go ahead and go BPA, draft injured players or trade for future picks.