Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

5 needs that should be addressed by 49ers this offseason

Rohan Chakravarthi
Mar 9, 2023 at 5:11 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers had another strong season under the direction of head coach Kyle Shanahan, making their third NFC Championship Game in five years, despite having to start three different quarterbacks due to injury.

However, after the loss in the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers are going to have to retool in the offseason once again, as they are left with 25 free agents, including some key starters from this past season, which means they'll have to identify their needs and attack them appropriately with the capital they have in the draft and free agency.

What are the top five needs that need to be addressed this offseason?

5. Defensive Line

The defensive line is an area where the 49ers are consistently looking to improve, given the importance the position group has on the defensive success of the team.

This offseason, the 49ers could lose both Samson Ebukam and Charles Omenihu at the edge position, while role players Kevin Givens, Jordan Willis, and Kerry Hyder are hitting free agency as well.

With a deep free agency class along the defensive line, I expect the 49ers to look at the position and make a key signing, but the reason they're lower on the list is that Drake Jackson, San Francisco's second-round pick in 2022, is expected to take another step forward, while they still have ample depth around the group.

Outside names I could envision the 49ers signing at defensive end are: Jadaveon Clowney, Arden Key, Dante Fowler, Za'Darius Smith (if he's cut), and Rasheem Green.

Outside names I could envision the 49ers signing at defensive tackle are: Dalvin Tomlinson, Shy Tuttle, Khalen Saunders, and Poona Ford.

4. Quarterback

The 49ers need a quarterback. That's an interesting statement to hear when a team has two promising young quarterbacks on rookie contracts, but with likely just one healthy option at the position when the offseason program begins, San Francisco needs to add a player (or two).

It's currently unclear when Brock Purdy is set to return, but even the earliest timeline of six months would place his full clearance around Week 1 of the regular season, which means San Francisco needs bodies for the entire offseason, but also a player that is willing to become the third quarterback on the roster when the former seventh-rounder returns to action.

The 49ers have scouted late-round quarterbacks, having visited with UCLA's Dorian Thompson-Robinson and BYU's Jaren Hall at the combine, but likely will dabble in the free agent pool first.

Outside names I could envision the 49ers signing at quarterback: Taylor Heinecke, Mason Rudolph, Andy Dalton, and Sam Darnold.

3. Tight End

The 49ers have tried finding their backup tight end ever since George Kittle broke out in 2018 with 1,377 receiving yards, initially going after Jordan Reed before drafting Charlie Woerner and picking up Ross Dwelley, but none of their options have fully solidified their grip on the position.

Kyle Shanahan has schemed up some major plays which require two tight ends for success, but hasn't always seen the desired results, be it in the blocking game or as a pass-catcher, which needs to change this offseason.

Luckily for San Francisco, the draft is loaded with valuable tight ends, especially in the middle rounds, which could provide them their future option alongside George Kittle in two-tight end sets, which creates favorable matchups by forcing defenses to match personnel and get away from their nickel packages.

Names I could envision the 49ers drafting at tight end: Iowa's Sam LaPorta, Purdue's Payne Durham, Cincinnati's Josh Whyle, Michigan's Luke Schoonmaker, Miami's Will Mallory, and Clemson's Davis Allen.

2. Right Tackle

It appears that the 49ers are going to lose right tackle Mike McGlinchey in free agency, as he's expected to demand a hefty contract on the open market, with both general manager John Lynch and the player himself publicly acknowledging the difficulties of the business with the salary cap.

That creates a significant hole that the 49ers must address, especially with how important the offensive line is when developing young quarterbacks, which appears to be the likeliest scenario in 2022.

The 49ers could look to address the position in free agency, but that could be costly if San Francisco wants a high-end option or one with upside, which could direct their focus to the draft, where they potentially move up for a right tackle.

The 49ers did re-sign right tackle Colton McKivitz to a two-year extension on Thursday, placing a vote of confidence in the swing tackle that he could be the starter, should San Francisco desire that option in 2023.

Outside names I could envision the 49ers signing at right tackle are: George Fant, Andre Dillard, Isaiah Wynn, and Billy Turner.

Outside names I could envision the 49ers drafting at right tackle are: BYU's Blake Freeland, Oklahoma's Wanya Morris, Alabama's Tyler Steen, and Maryland's Jaelyn Duncan.

1. Safety

A common theme with the positions stated above: they are additions to groups that have answers already at the position.

That's not the case with safety, where the 49ers need to add a starting-caliber player to join Talanoa Hufanga, either via the draft or free agency.

Jimmie Ward is expected to leave in free agency, although he hinted that San Francisco isn't out of the picture on an Instagram Live earlier this week.

George Odum, San Francisco's other safety on contract, is a strong special-teams player, but the 49ers should look to upgrade for their starter.

The biggest question mark with the position is the status of free agent safety Tashaun Gipson, whom the 49ers have publicly expressed an interest in re-signing.

Gipson has shared his appreciation for Talanoa Hufanga, and is expected to return for another season, which could make a reunion possible, but the 49ers should definitely look to draft a safety and find their future option for the current championship window.

Outside names I could envision the 49ers signing at safety are: Vonn Bell, Terrell Edmunds, Nasir Adderley, and Julian Love.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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  • Chuck
    2 days in and they've checked two of the three needs you identified so far....
    Mar 14, 2023 at 11:19 AM
  • Grant Bong
    Tired of Grant Chon please make it stop
    Mar 13, 2023 at 9:55 PM


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