In previous seasons, many of the newly minted 49ers rookies were drafted primarily for depth. We could see that change with the 2014 draft class.
The 49ers may not have big roster holes to fill, but there are some weaknesses that need to be addressed.
Let's start at the running back position. The addition of Carlos Hyde was a bit of a head-scratcher at first, but this pick could pay huge dividends for the 49ers as early as this season.
Hyde will likely assume the same role as former 49ers running back Anthony Dixon. He can be the goal-line and short-yardage back for this 49ers power-running attack. Against the physical teams in the NFC West, Hyde could be a very useful weapon for Kaepernick and Co.
How about the secondary? We talked about the holes in the secondary previously, but one name that should be mentioned is first-round pick Jimmie Ward.
Ward is not healthy at the moment, but when medically cleared, he'll provide some excellent versatility in the back end. He can play in the slot and at times outside. Also, his natural position of safety gives the 49ers some depth behind starters Eric Reid and Antoine Bethea.
Another name to watch is Bruce Ellington. Kaepernick couldn't stop gushing about the rookie receiver out of South Carolina, per Andrew Pentis of 49ers.com:
"I feel like he has game speed. He's faster than he looks and he can separate. So, we're very excited about what he can add to this team."
The 49ers have long needed a vertical threat to open up this passing offense. Not to mention, Ellington can also flourish as a kick returner on special teams.
With some of the injuries and possible repercussions from off-the-field behavior, this 2014 rookie class for the 49ers can really make a name for itself.