Jesse Williams would be the final piece of the puzzle to bolster the defensive line.
The San Francisco 49ers have addressed several needs in the first two days of the draft. By moving up to take Eric Reid, with the 18th overall selection, the 49ers believe they have the player who will replace Dashon Goldson at safety.
On Friday, the 49ers selected defensive end Tank Carradine, who suffered a torn ACL late in the 2012 season. Prior to the injury, Carradine had 11 sacks in 11 games. Carradine should be able to spell Ray McDonald or Justin Smith in the upcoming season.
The 49ers lost backup tight end Delanie Walker in the free-agent market. With their second pick in Round 2, Vance McDonald was selected to fill the void created by the departure of Walker.
In Round 3, the 49ers traded up to pick Corey Lemonier, a defensive end from Auburn. Lemonier projects as a pass-rushing linebacker in much the same mold as Aldon Smith.
The 49ers filled important needs in the first two days of the draft, but they still have other areas that can be shored up.
Looking at Day 3, the 49ers currently have eight selections. Look for GM Trent Baalke to bundle some of these picks to move up, as there are still several players remaining who can help the team.
The 49ers have two picks in Round 4, numbers 31 and 34. They have one pick, number 24, in Round 5. In the sixth round,the 49ers have the fifth and 12th pick. In the seventh round, the 49ers have the 31st, 40th and 46th picks.
With four players already picked, look for the 49ers to bundle some of their remaining picks to move up as much as possible to select players they covet. Let's take a look at five players that would be great fits for the 49ers.
Jesse Williams would fill the hole at nose tackle.
Jesse Williams was projected in some mock drafts as a late first-round selection. He is a nose tackle that could help fill the void created by the free-agent departures of Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois.
Williams is an excellent run-stopper and at 6'3" and 323 pounds, he would be a force in the center of the 49ers' 3-4 defense.
The one knock on Williams is that he is not a dynamic pass-rusher, but he is strong enough to get a push inside, which will prevent the opposing quarterback from easily stepping up in the pocket. This will enable Justin Smith, Aldon Smith and the other pass rushers to get more pressure on the passer.
In order to land Williams, the 49ers would need to move up towards the top of Round 4.
GM Trent Baalke would likely need to trade one of his late fourth rounders, plus two later round selections. This would be a small price to pay for a player of Williams' caliber. He has the potential to be a starting nose tackle for the 49ers for several years to come.
Marcus Lattimore may have been the top back in the draft had it not been for a major knee injury.
Marcus Lattimore sustained a major knee injury in the 2012 season. Prior to getting hurt, Lattimore may have been the top running back in the draft.
If Lattimore is available with one of the 49ers' late fourth-round picks, they should jump all over him.
Frank Gore is entering his ninth NFL season and will be 30 years of age in May. He cannot go on forever, but looks like he may have another two or three good years left.
It would be wise for the 49ers to begin grooming a replacement now, especially if that player is as good as Lattimore was, prior to his injury. The 49ers would have the luxury of allowing Lattimore to strengthen his knee and he would not be needed to contribute right away.
Stepfan Taylor scores at UCLA.
If the 49ers are unable to obtain Marcus Lattimore, a very good option would be Stepfan Taylor, from Stanford. Taylor is a solid all-around back who was very productive.
In his final three seasons in college, Taylor rushed for over 1,000 yards. His best year came as a senior, when he amassed 1,530 yards on 322 carries. His career rushing average is 5.1 yards-per-carry.
Taylor played under head coach Jim Harbaugh in his first two years at Stanford.
Brian Schwenke at the Senior Bowl.
Brian Schwenke would fill a valuable need at center for the 49ers. Jonathan Goodwin, the starting center is in the final year of his contract and at age 34, is not likely to return.
Schwenke can provide depth at the center position and be groomed to take over in 2014. At times, he also had trouble at Cal with the shotgun snap. He would have plenty of time to hone his skills and also build his body.
In order to get Schwenke, the 49ers would likely need to trade up to the fifth round. They could possibly use one of their sixth rounders, plus a couple round seven picks to move up and grab Schwenke.
Ryan Lacy plays bigger than his size.
The San Francisco 49ers have four cornerbacks that should get the bulk of the playing time. 2012 starters Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers, along with nickel back Chris Culliver are the incumbents. The Niners also signed free agent Nnamdi Asomugha to add to their stable of cornerbacks.
It's highly questionable if Rogers and Asomugha will be with the 49ers following the 2013 season. Rogers makes too much money and Asomugha is on a one-year contract. If he does well, he will want a lot more money, but if he does poorly, the 49ers won't sign him anyway.
In addition to the uncertain future of Rogers and Asomugha in 2014, the 49ers will be watching Culliver very carefully. He has the physical tools, but has had several mental lapses on and off the field.
Ryan Lacy would provide the 49ers with some depth and would also contribute on special teams. He is a tough, physical player who plays a lot bigger than his size, which is 5'9" and 186 pounds.
Lacy has very good speed and could also contribute as a gunner on the punt coverage team.
Eric Reid and his daughter pose with Roger Goodell after the 49ers traded up to grab him.
With four players already selected and eight more picks on Day 3, there is no way the 49ers want to come out of the draft with 12 draft selections coming to camp. The 49ers do not have enough open spots for that many players, so many would not make the team.
It will be up to Trent Baalke to make some deals to move up and also, potentially trade out of 2013 and add assets for 2014. The first two days went well for the 49ers and the 2013 draft already looks much more solid than what resulted last year.