Regular- and post-season football is done, and it is officially the offseason, or “draft season,” for the San Francisco 49ers. This is a ballclub that takes bargain shopping in free agency to a whole new level. Their high-priced acquisitions last year were a place-kicker and a special teams gunner.
They are entirely dependent on drafting, which makes top picks all the more important to this team.
That top draftee not only has to live up to his first-round status, but he has to be that all-encompassing offseason acquisition that covers up the fact that the Niners didn’t sign anybody out of house.
After hitting in 2011 and 2013 (Aldon Smith, Eric Reid) and missing badly in 2012 (A.J. Jenkins), general manager Trent Baalke is hoping to break the pattern this year. Whatever it takes, they’ve got to hit a home run on the first day of the draft. The upside is they have a boatload of picks and no shortage of options.
They have three real needs, specifically at wide receiver, cornerback and safety, but Baalke has the liberty to go in any direction in Round 1.
To put forth a more concise listing, I’ve narrowed San Francisco’s big board to seven players, which are ranked down to No. 1 (with No. 1 being the best). Other than seven or eight players in the first round, drafting anyone else would seem like the 49ers are veering from their needs or are willing to settle for anything.
No, this is more about a perfect fit and really projecting who they might realistically be after, when they’re on the clock on May 8. For an organized breakdown of their top targets, proceed through the following. And if there’s anyone you feel was left out, feel free to make your case below.