Originally posted by LifelongNiner:
#1 priority has to be getting a NT. Other positions can be argued, like CB, S, WR, and even DE to replace Justin Smith eventually. I choose getting a true nose tackle that can collapse/push the pocket because no matter who we draft at DE, they are only going to be used to give Justin Smith breathers. A good NT has the chance of actually starting day 1 and would play the largest number of meaningful snaps on defense. They also could help take some of the attention off of Justin Smith, which would help out Justin Smith in the same way Smith helps Aldon Smith's game. It would be a domino effect on the defense. It would also buy us a season or 2 to develop a safety and corner that we draft later to eventually take over in 2014 or 2015 as starters. I think it's very clear our offense is on the upswing, but we need to get the defense back to where it was in 2011 and the beginning of the 2012 season.
I have to disagree with you. Our #1 priority is to find Justin Smith #2. I forgot where I saw the stat line (I can find it if I have to) that said that Soap played like 31% of defensive snaps. You want to tie up our future and millions of dollars in a position that is going the way of the FB? The NFL trend now is 3 and 4 receiver sets, spread'em out. Thats why drafting Aldon Smith last year was genius--he didn't HAVE to be and every down LB. If we are in Nickle 60-70% of the time, we need a good NT, but nothing to sell the farm for. Its another story if one falls in your lap. Football is now about containing the pass. Soap would be stupid to follow his predecessor--Franklin--for that big FA money.Remember when we thought we HAD to keep Franklin? Baalke breaks the bank for no one, and these players know it.
Baalke will decide what he is willing to pay for Soap and Ricky Jean, and that will be that. No big deal. He'll keep one of them. The way offenses are going now, they are almost interchangeable.
The bigger issue is just what you said, Justin Smith. No Justin Smith = very mediocre defense. Having said that, the Justin Smiths of the world are RARE animals. JJ Watt is going to be the closest thing we are going to see like JS for years. I'd be happy to draft a guy like Ray McDonald. Quality starter, and was quality depth.
I have faith that Tomsula and Baalke will find the right guy(s). Tomsula knows his guys, and knows who to look for.
A close second is the CB situation. Culliver was gameplanned for by the Ravens. He has trouble tracking the ball and doesn't seem to get his head around to track it. We need a big, physical corner to contest the LOS and go against the Larry Fitzgerald types. It would also make Rogers expendable.
We also need depth at safety. Whitner can't hold up with big basketball playing TEs like J. Graham. We need a taller, more coverage style guy to mirror Goldson. In the box safetys, like fullbacks, and nose tackles, aren't the commodities anymore. QBs/WRs, and DE(rushers)/CBs are.
[ Edited by GoldandGarnet on Feb 10, 2013 at 3:43 PM ]