Draft day brings about the next opportunity for the San Francisco 49ers to fortify this perennial Super Bowl contender, adding another tier of players to this team to enhance it right away while building for the long haul. So the 49ers are well into preparations.
Heading into the process, the front office knows it doesn't need to add a lot to the roster.
It's not rebuilding. In fact, the 49ers should have north of 15 of 22 starters returning for the 2014 season, even after considering players expected to test free agency or be released. And those losses won’t be crippling. They’ll still have the foundation of the team, which is easily one of the NFL’s best.
So the positions listed here in this big board are fairly concentrated.
And with an excessive amount of draft picks for a second consecutive year, general manager Trent Baalke can do virtually anything he wants. We've seen how they operate with this kind of capital. Much like last year, when he had just one more pick at his disposal, Baalke can control the tempo on a round-by-round basis and target the hand-selected guys.
And the Niners should have a very detailed list of players they’ll be looking to add, largely because their needs are very specific.
So who are these mystery players?
Well it’s been nearly impossible to gauge where this team has been coming from each year outside the picks of safety Eric Reid and running back Marcus Lattimore in 2013, which both made a lot of sense months before the draft.
That was a strong class because the team found a lot of gold-helmet guys—players who were fits in every conceivable way.
With that in mind, we’ve identified a number of potential future 49ers and put them together in this comprehensive list. Along with a brief summary, players are numbered per round, as the team’s big board would be, with No. 1 on top as the preferred target.
Granted, the 49ers will have multiple picks in multiple rounds and will trade up, so it's a rough outline.
So all of these players are attainable and for some, two in one round. If they acquire both, the order of which doesn’t matter. Bottom line, it will provide an idea of what positions the Niners will be looking to address by round with how this particular class is shaped.
No doubt they’ll be looking to bolster the receiving corps and the secondary, which is quite timely given this wave of incoming rookies. And if the team can find the right players and turn these weaknesses into strengths, then San Francisco will be on another level in 2014, vying for a Super Bowl once again.
Here are a few players who can help get it there.
Needs: WR, CB, SS, C, QB