For the 49ers to be favorites to win the NFC West, we must address the issue of our offensive line.
With two first round picks, we should add the best OT available and the best OG available. If we can land Mike Iupati and Trent Williams, we will solidify our line and have very good depth as well.
There are some pretty good cover CBs that should be available in the second round. As much as I would love to see us land Joe Haden in the first, they cannot afford to overlook the offensive line. The 49ers may also be able to look into free agency.
Tarell Brown made some good strides last year and could easily be a solid nickelback if not more. Shawntae Spencer went to college with Larry Fitzgerald, which is exemplified by how he basically removes Fitzgerald from the offense when we face Arizona.
No one knows what to expect from Dre' Bly and Walt Harris, if they are even in San Francisco next season. Therefore we need to add at least one more solid corner.
Safety is a need as well for the 49ers, and while Earl Thomas would be a great ballhawk acquisition, there may be other options. One that hasn't been discussed is Oshiomogho Atogwe, the safety for the Rams. Even though he is not a "stud," he is a very solid player. He may become a free agent, and seeing as he is engaged to Mike Singletary's daughter, he may jump at the opportunity to become a 49er.
There may be other options, but it's clear that the 49ers need a ballhawk to play center field. Dashon Goldson played FS last season but seems more suited to play SS, and with Michael Lewis' career in limbo, it seems that Goldson could take over next season.
Nate Clements is the X-factor in this. Will he be able to elevate his game at CB next season, or could he move to FS? A move to FS would be good, but if he can elevate his game at CB, it would be even better. No one can argue with the outstanding run support Clements provides on the outside, even wrapping up Adrian Peterson.
Niner faithful continue to talk about C.J. Spiller. I like this kid, but I can't see the 49ers using our first pick of the draft on him after bringing in Glen Coffee last year.
In my opinion, I would love to see the 49ers sign free agent Brian Westbrook. Everyone knows his tank is close to empty, so it probably won't be a viable option for him to go to a team who has a desperate need for a RB, but he could be an excellent addition in the return game as well as providing the 49ers with a superb third-down running back, like the Patriots' Kevin Faulk.
Takeo Spikes is approaching the age in which a replacement will be necessary in the near future. It isn't a huge need because we could get one a year from now and be fine, but if there is one in the draft with more athletic ability than Scott McKillop, I could see the 49ers taking a MLB in the third or fourth round. Also, an athletic OLB would be a nice addition in a later round.
While the defensive line is beginning to become solid, Kentwan Balmer has failed to meet the expectations of a first round draft choice. The 49ers could definitely use another big body with a motor.
We should look for a decent prospect coming from a school that had no other help on defense. We made the mistake of drafting Manny Lawson when he benefited from Mario Williams on the other side. It isn't a huge need, but any depth we can add would be for the best.
Quarterback may or may not be a need for this team. We shouldn't worry about that this draft. We need to solidify the line for Alex Smith and see if he can adequately read a defense. He now has weapons surrounding him; providing him with adequate protection will remove any excuses there can be so it's either sink or swim.
Fullback is a very overlooked position, but if we could get a guy similar to Leonard Weaver—a guy who can block, run, and catch—it would do a lot for our offense. Honestly, I would love to see them draft Toby Gerhart, have him put on some pounds, and move him to FB.
If the 49ers add two studs to the offensive line, a return threat, and some depth to the secondary, then the NFC West will be ours for the taking.
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