2012 NFL Draft: Why the 49ers Will Select an Offensive Skill Player in Round 1
In 2012, the 49ers have made an appropriate amount of offseason moves; certainly no more or no less than fans thought they would.
At this point, San Francisco only has a few pressing needs and areas of focus going into the NFL Draft at the end of this month.
As of now, the right guard position needs to be addressed, while the 49ers will also look to add offensive pass catchers.
The safety position will likely be addressed as well, but more so for depth.
In 2011, Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh had a strong draft in their first year together. Players like Aldon Smith, Kendall Hunter, Bruce Miller and Chris Culliver really stepped up to the plate as rookies.
However, Daniel Kilgore hasn't had his time to shine, and he's a part of that same talented draft class.
Baalke and Harbaugh believed in the 6'3, 304-pounder from Appalachian State, which is why they traded up for him even late in the draft.
This same draft strategy is also why the 49ers may not take another offensive lineman in the first round—they aren't looking for a franchise blindside protector, they are looking for a guard.
For years, the 49ers had instability at the position, rotating guys in and out with a relative level of success.
More recently it was Adam Snyder and David Baas who played well enough on the offensive line that they earned contracts elsewhere.
Kilgore should be able to compete, if not overtake the starting right guard position in camp. Baalke will likely secure some big physical talent with a mid to late-round selection for depth and competition's sake.
The 49ers would also prefer to take this route because of the gang of first round talent amongst the pass catchers. Someone, likely a few guys, are bound to fall to the 49ers.
Someone they didn't expect.
Even though Alex Smith showed the staff how much he improved, there were still flaws in his game that could be mended with more dynamic receiving options.
Harbaugh already seems to be going the route of big and fast, so I would expect it to continue.
The big and fast receivers will go in the first round, and after that, there is a significant drop in talent, but not potential.
Rueben Randall, Kendall Wright, Stephen Hill, Michael Floyd and/or Coby Fleener are all excellent pass catchers who could be available to San Francisco at No. 30.
What San Francisco needs are receivers that are open even when they're covered.
Players like Fleener and Hill who always have a chance to come down with the ball. Hill's speed is also very coveted. Their large frames present a big target for Smith, who could get rid of the ball to them instead of taking a sack.
On top of that, teams picking 20-29 in April's draft are not desperate for a wide receiver and have more important areas to address.
So the way the draft could fall, San Francisco could be picking from a couple great pass catchers to upgrade for the future.
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