Over the last five drafts the 49ers have selected seven defensive backs.
Eric Reid (2013) - Stud
Chris Culliver (2011) – Presumed 2014 starter at CB but we should try to upgrade.
Trenton Robinson (2012) – Waived and currently buried on the Skins depth chart.
Marcus Cooper (2013) – Has some promise. Let go to KC
Curtis Holcom (2011) – Knee injury
Philip Adams (2010) – Lots of promise/too many knee injuries
Curtis Taylor (2009) – Made the roster a couple of times as the 4th or 5th safety.
The lesson here? Spend picks early and often on improving the defensive backfield. We've done pretty well drafting DB's the last two times we've committed a top 100 pick. So far the 49ers off season activity has screamed that they're going rely heavily on the draft to fill-out the secondary depth chart. I hope we go All-In early.
2014 Mock Draft
I'm assuming the worst case for now that our comp pick for Goldson will be a 4th.
We're likely going to spend picks at some point to move up and we've seen Baalke move up in the 1st round twice now. So we trade up a couple spots with #30 our 4th and one of our 7th round picks to jump up ahead a couple spots to start the secondary make-over.
1st (27+/-): Kyle Fuller – CB Virginia Tech
Our corners are good but not great and we should look to upgrade early. With Donatell coaching him up Fuller should be able to push for immediate playing time. He sounds like a very solid kid in the Eric Reid mold . . . and of course he has the long arms.
2nd (56-KC): Donte Moncrief – WR Mississippi
We need to prepare now for a future without Boldin and maybe even Crabtree. Moncreif has great size and skills and he could learn from two of the best possession WR's in the NFL for at least one year.
2nd (61): Deone Buchanon – S Washington State
He's a Norcal kid from Fairfield. 1st team All-American. Many here noticed that Bethea's contract could be easily unplugged with minimal cap damage as early as next year. Buchanon could make it happen sooner rather than later.
3rd (77-TEN): E.J. Gaines – CB Missouri
He's not overly tall, but he's relatively long for his height and physical. First Team All-SEC. I've seen him projected from the 3rd to the early 5th but he seems to be rising fast. He'd be a solid value her adding depth with the potential to push for immediate playing time.
3rd (94): Bruce Ellington – WR South Carolina
We went with the prototype WR earlier. Now we grab an explosive playmaker. With Boldin on board to lead by example I think it would be a great idea to double up and bring in two talented youngsters to learn how to be a Pro from one of the best professionals in the game. If we lose Crabtree to FA next year we'll be in a better position to deal with it. If we keep Crabtree we'll be frigging loaded and Boldin could become expendable next offseason when we're still trying to extend others.
4th (126+/-): Traded (Fuller)
4th (COMP-133+/-): Tyler Larsen – C Utah State
Larsen adds competition behind Kilgore who's not exactly making a ton of money and could be relegated back to heavy tight-end if this kid has the skills and intelligence. Once he's up to speed, he's also adds depth to keep others in their original starting spots in case Kilgore goes down.
5th (162+/-): Preston Brown – ILB Louisville
Solid run stuffer. Needs to work on is pass coverage.
6th (198+/-): Traded (Gabbert)
7th (225+/-): Traded (Fuller)
7th (226+/-): Trey Millard – FB/H-Back/TE Oklahoma
I've seen a ton of mocks taking this guy as a red-shirt due to his torn ACL last October and I agree. It was painful to watch the fullback play after Miller went down last year. A back-up FB is a luxury, but Millard has the pass catching ability to be a very good H-Back/TE type as well as the back-up FB – AKA the Swiss Army Knife.
7th (250+/-): OLB/QB/TE
So I carpet bombed the DB and WR positions on days 1 and 2 and then filled a few depth needs on day 3. Yes we'd be young in the secondary, but I have confidence that Donatell & Company can coach them up. We need to get younger and cheaper in the secondary.
As far was the WR's, yes we've had issues drafting WR's, but again we're facing the prospect of losing Crabtree along with an aging Boldin on a short term contract. We have to be ready to deal with that sooner rather than later. We need to develop at least two reliable targets aside from those guys. Between Patton, Moncrief and Ellington I think we would.
The unfinished business for next year will be re-vamping the DE position a bit. We know Cowboy is close to riding off into the sunset and RayMac isn't getting any younger. But I think we're good this year with Carradine basically coming in as a rookie.
FINAL PROJECTED ROSTER
QB (2): Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert
RB (5): Frank Gore, Bruce Miller, Kendall Hunter, Marcus Lattimore, LaMichael James
WR (6): Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Quinton Patton, Donte Moncrief (R), Bruce Ellington (R)
TE (3): Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek
OL (8): Joe Staley, Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, Alex Boone, Daniel Kilgore, Joe Looney, Jonathan Martin, Tyler Larsen (R)
DL (7): Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Ian Williams, Tank Carradine, Glenn Dorsey, Quinton Dial, Tony Jerod-Edie
LB (8): Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Dan Skuta, Corey Lemonier, Michael Wilhoite, Nick Moody, Preston Brown (R)
CB (5): Tramaine Brock, Chris Culliver, Kyle Fuller (R), E.J. Gaines (R), Chris Cook
S (5): Eric Reid, Antoine Bethea, Deone Buchanon (R), C.J. Spillman, Craig Dahl
ST (3): Phil Dawson, Andy Lee, Kevin McDermott
That's 52 by my count with one wild card, either a 3rd QB or a 4th TE . . . or possibly Tukuafu until Millard is healthy and up to speed.
NaVorrow Bowman – ILB
Trey Millard – FB
[ Edited by SonocoNinerFan on Mar 17, 2014 at 9:09 AM ]