Matt will be reviewing each team's pre-draft analysis by talking about the draft range of targeted players.
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San Francisco 49ers (Last Year: 5-11)
The Niners have been very active in free agency lately (Michael Lewis, Nate Clements, Bryant Johnson, Justin Smith, Isaac Bruce, etc.) and it certainly didn't pay off for them last season. Trading their 2008 draft pick wasn't a horrible move when you consider that their needs wouldn't match up very well with the No. 7 selection. Still, this team has a few needs it needs to fill, but what they need more is pure talent. Like every other team (but the Browns) this draft is huge for the 49ers. Right to their draft range with the Nos. 29 and 39 overall picks:
I'm not sure anyone is 100-percent sold on Aubrayo Franklin. Pat Sims and Trevor Laws fit the zero technique pretty well in San Fran's 3-4 base. Sims and Laws could still be on the board for them in the second round. They would get better value with Ahtyba Rubin, Red Bryant or Marcus Harrison in the third round, but they might reach for one of these at 39.
They brought in Bruce and Johnson, and they have Jason Hill, but he wasn't very productive last year as a rookie to say the least with one reception for a big gain of six yards. I think they would love to see DeSean Jackson or Devin Thomas to fall to them at 29. Early Doucet could be in the mix at 29 as well. Donnie Avery, Dexter Jackson, and Eddie Royal might be reaches with the 49ers' second-round pick. These are all fast players because they get up the field quickly, which makes them a good fit for Martz's spread offense because the routes take longer to develop than a West Coast offense.
Curtis Lofton/Dan Connor:
Patrick Willis could use a true "bash bro" to help him out as the other ILB in the 3-4. Connor and Lofton are both blue-collar football players who hit hard and have great instincts. Can't go wrong with either pick at 29 or 39.
Kenny Phillips/DaJuan Morgan/Reggie Smith:
These are the top safeties in the class, and an upgrade could be made at free safety to replace Mark Roman. All these players are better fits at free safety than strong safety because they provide very good range and athleticism for the position.
There is their range for the first two rounds. Whom could they be targeting in the third round and on?
In terms of vertical threats, Royal, Jackson and Avery might still be on the board in the third. Lavelle Hawkins and Harry Douglas are solid values in the third or fourth rounds. For fifth-seventh round draft range receivers for the Niners, I like Jerome Simpson, Steve Johnson, Taj Smith, and Dorien Bryant (who provides great special teams play).
If they were to look at upgrading the rush linebacker position, Quentin Groves and Cliff Avril are possibilities in the second round, but are much better value in the third. Shawn Crable, Bruce Davis, Titus Brown and Marcus Howard would be really solid fourth to sixth round picks for this defense opposite Manny Lawson.
Brandon Moore is not an adequate starter at inside linebacker. Jonathan Goff would be a perfect fit next to Patrick Willis, and I feel like he is a bargain in the third round. Jameel McClain, Beau Bell, and Ben Moffitt fit the 3-4 and are in the fourth to sixth round draft range.
Guard is a big need as well since David Baas has been a huge bust. I think this position, if it were to be addressed, will come in the mid rounds. Sam Baker, Roy Schuening, Chilo Rachal, Mike McGlynn and Eric Young would all be immediate upgrades in the third or fourth rounds.
In addition to guard, right tackle needs to be dealt with since Joe Staley is likely to start at left tackle eventually. Barry Richardson, Anthony Collins, John Greco or Kirk Barton would be solid fourth or fifth round draft picks.
San Francisco 49ers 2008 Offseason Needs
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