San Francisco 49ers: 2017 NFL Draft Preview

Jonathan Allen

The 49ers are in full blown rebuild mode following the moves to hire a first-time general manager (John Lynch) and a first-time head coach (Kyle Shanahan). They’re also changing their defensive scheme to a 4-3 with first-time coordinator, Robert Saleh. What does all this mean for the draft? We can only guess.

Key additions

  • C Jeremy Zuttah
  • DT Earl Mitchell
  • FB Kyle Juszczyk
  • ILB Malcolm Smith
  • PK Robbie Gould
  • QB Brian Hoyer
  • WR Pierre Garcon
  • WR Marquise Goodwin
  • WR Aldrick Robinson

Key subtractions

  • CB Tramaine Brock
  • DL Glenn Dorsey
  • LB Gerald Hodges
  • LB Nick Bellore
  • LB Michael Wilhoite
  • PK Phil Dawson
  • QB Colin Kaepernick
  • S Antoine Beathea
  • WR Torrey Smith
  • WR Quinton Patton

Priority needs (Offense)

QB…An obvious need for a team with Brian Hoyer listed at No. 1 on the depth chart. Hoyer is a good stop-gap starter for at least one season until a young player can be groomed for the position starting either this year or next.

WR…The Pierre Garcon signing helps solidify one spot for the next few seasons and if Marquise Goodwin can remain healthy moving forward it will be a big boost for the offense. But Bruce Ellington missed the entire season with a hamstring injury and Jeremy Kerley is a solid yet unspectacular vet. This draft is chock full of receivers and for a team with 11 picks they should think long and hard about adding at least one early on.

Priority needs (Defense)

CB…With Jimmy Ward’s planned move to safety and Tramaine Brock’s release over a domestic violence charge this position is more important than safety. A matter of fact, this is a position that requires two or three more players early enough to impact the unit. The safety position only becomes a priority need if the 49ers plan on trading Eric Reid or they end up keeping Ward there.

DL…With the switch to a four-man front there is a definite need for more talent here. Last year’s fifth-round pick Roland Blair could be a sleeper, but with so many young players to count on including first-round talents DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead, John Lynch and company need to think long and hard about whether to take safety Jamal Adams before either Solomon Thomas or Jonathan Allen.

Final analysis

Even though the Niners need a franchise quarterback and they won’t be adding one with their first pick, there’s no guarantee they’ll be taking one at 34 either. There are two college QBs in close proximity to their football headquarters who will most likely be available in next year’s draft class whom they can keep constant tabs on for next season in USCs San Darnold and UCLAs Josh Rosen. So if they’re going to add a quarterback next week, maybe they’re better off taking a mid-round flier on someone like Nathan Peterman or Davis Webb instead.

Top first-round options

  • CB Marshon Lattimore
  • DL Jonathan Allen
  • DL Solomon Thomas
  • SS Jamal Adams

Top second-round options

  • CB Chidobe Awuzie
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson
  • CB Kevin King
  • CB Fabian Moreau
  • DL Malik McDowell
  • DL Dalvin Tomlinson
  • DL DeMarcus Walker
  • DL Jordan Willis
  • DL Chris Wormley
  • FS Budda Baker
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