3 draft needs for the San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have a whole host of needs right now. Analyst Zoltan Buday highlights the three top ones before the draft.

| 3 months ago
(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

3 draft needs for the San Francisco 49ers

Teams that pick in the top five and do not have a ton of needs are rare, and the 49ers are not one of them. San Francisco is in need of a complete rebuild and the process has already started with the hiring of new general manager John Lynch and new head coach Kyle Shanahan. While the rebuilding will likely last years, the first draft for the duo will be crucial to see if they can start the new tenure on the right note and select players that can contribute early and become a cornerstone of what they are trying to build in Santa Clara.

Need: Quarterback

It’s debatable whether a rebuild should start with the acquisition of a new quarterback or whether that can wait; however, the 49ers certainly have a need at the position. Even though they signed quarterbacks Matt Barkley and Brian Hoyer during free agency, neither can be viewed as a long-term option for San Francisco, but rather as a stopgap until the 49ers and Shanahan find their signal caller of the future. The fact that there is no quarterback in this year’s draft that has franchise quarterback written all over him may force San Francisco to wait a year or two with acquiring a passer.

Early-round target: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

PFPF’ top-ranked quarterback, Trubisky burst onto the scene in 2016 and finished as one of the highest-graded signal callers in the nation. Trubisky demonstrated excellent anticipation skills under pressure and good short-area accuracy in his one year as a starter at North Carolina. While most view it as a negative that Trubisky started only one season at the collegiate level, it could also mean that he would be more moldable for an offensive-minded coach like Shanahan.

Mid- or late-round target: Zach Terrell, QB, Western Michigan

Even though Terrell had a lot of success at the collegiate level, he has been flying under the radar this draft season due to the fact that he played for a small school and had an excellent supporting cast around him. However, Terrell led the nation with an adjusted completion percentage of 81.0 percent in 2016 and was ranked fourth with 9.37 passing yards per attempt. While Terrell’s technique may be raw, he has shown in the past what he is capable of in a good system with a strong offensive line and an elite wide receiver. While the 49ers only have the first one of these, it could be worthwhile to see what Shanahan could develop the former Western Michigan quarterback into.

Need: Offensive line

Even though the 49ers selected former Stanford guard Joshua Garnett in last year’s draft, San Francisco still lacks the quality and depth when it comes to unit and the fact that Garnett had a lackluster rookie season does not help either. The only reliable members of the offensive line are veteran left tackle Joe Staley and free-agent acquisition Jeremy Zuttah, who both had above-average 2016 seasons and who can be considered the main strengths of the unit in 2017.

Early-round target: Forrest Lamp, G/OT, Western Kentucky

Lamp has been getting more and more recognition over the past months and now it is becoming unlikely that he will actually be there when the 49ers select early in the second round. Lamp, who many project to move inside and play guard in the NFL, can even play right tackle for the 49ers and he has proven to be equally solid both in pass protection and run-blocking. In fact, Lamp finished the 2016 season with the third-best pass-blocking efficiency among tackles as he allowed only five total pressures – without any sacks – on 404 pass-blocking snaps.

Mid- or late-round target: Josh Boutte, G, LSU

Unlike Lamp, former LSU offensive lineman Boutte played guard in college too, although he started only in his last season at LSU. Boutte wasn’t extraordinary in pass protection as he allowed 8 total pressures – including a sack – on 291 pass-blocking snaps. However, his familiarity with zone schemes makes him a good fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense, especially since Boutte was one of the best run-blocking guards in the nation when he played in LSU’s zone-heavy running offense.

Need: Cornerback

Just like on offense, the 49ers have quite a few needs on the defensive side of the ball too; however, most positions are filled with young players who should get an opportunity to prove what they are capable of. The position where it could be the easiest to integrate rookie players without cutting into the playing time of other relatively young players is cornerback.

Early-round target: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

Lattimore is PFF’s top-ranked cornerback and is the consensus top player at the position in this year’s draft. As a result, he could start from Day 1 and make an immediate impact in San Francisco’s defense. In addition, Lattimore is also one of the most aggressive and physical cornerbacks in this year’s class who does not lack ball skills either. The former Ohio State player got his hands on 11 of the 50 passes going his way as he recorded four interceptions and broke up seven passes while allowing a passer rating of 30.2 in the process.

Mid- or late-round target: Jalen Myrick, CB, Minnesota

While Minnesota’s Myrick may get lost in this year’s deep cornerback class, he is one player that can intrigue NFL teams due to his “upside” and physical tools. Myrick’s 4.28 40-time raised eyebrows and certainly made teams and analysts take note of him. In addition, Myrick is not a bum in coverage either as he has allowed a completion percentage of just 47.7 percent over the last three seasons and recorded 5 interceptions and broke up 21 passes on 151 targets. As a result, the former Minnesota defender allowed a passer rating of just 64.6 in coverage over the past three years.

  • Alan Mazz

    I,d draft Patrick Mahomes with the 34th pick, giving him 2 years to develop the ability to read NFL defenses and employ better judgement. You would then have the strongest arm , best Mobility, and Superior improvisational skills in a quarterback from this draft.

    • Farzin Adil

      i think he has the best upside in the draft class outta all the qbs

  • GM

    As usual PFF gets it wrong…. 49ers need a pass-rusher and someone (else) to help stop the run at DE. Crazy pass-rush makes your secondary look better. Aaron Lynch is the team’s best pass-rusher and he only had what 3 sacks? Showed up to the off-season program overweight… Until the 49ers address their hemorrhaging run game and lack of pass-rush, it doesn’t matter who’s playing on offense – the team won’t win.

    • Patrick

      Nailed it. Funny how the national press miss, perhaps we should grade the sports press and writers.

    • Howie

      1.5 sacks to be exact, and I totally agree.

    • Barn Burner#1

      Wait he showed up overweight again?

  • Howie

    Cornerback? Please explain why. We have Rashard Robinson, Jimmy Ward, Will Redmond, Dontae Johnson. Even if Ward moves to FS, we still have enough depth for now. There are greater needs.

  • theowl

    You fellas are dead on. If PFF is saying D. Barnett is their #3 prospect, why aren’t they pegging him with the Niners? But if PFF thinks there are 9 or 10 (if you count Taco) 1st round pass rushers in the draft, the the Niners can get one at 34. Then who would you take at 2?

    • Farzin Adil

      jamal adams

  • Farzin Adil

    This is completely wrong. In fact, you can argue corner back is the position the niners defense has the most depth at. Jimmy Ward can play corner (assuming niners draft a free safety) and so can Rashard Robinson, Trumaine Brock, K’wuan Williams, Will Redmond, etc. Now the best course of action for the 49ers would be to take a pass rusher 1st round and safety 2nd round or vice versa. After that, the team should focus on the offensive side of the ball.

  • MosesZD

    I wonder why this site gets ‘respect.’ You don’t understand why sacks are created and rip offensive lines for QB created sacks (ball holding, poor pocket decisions, refusal to throw it away) while raising other lines in rankings because QBs like Brady get the ball out too fast to be sacked nearly as often.

    Here we have a corner being taken despite the fact the two biggest problem the corners had were absolute crap support from safeties and no pass-rush to help them.

  • NutNiner

    Pass rush help please !!! DL Thomas to SF !! Thanks !!!

  • NutNiner

    Pass rush help please !!! DL Thomas to SF !! Thanks !!!

  • Cheyne Johnson

    Zuttah wasn’t a free agent acquisition. We traded for him.