The 49ers endured a number of surprise retirements this past offseason, one of which was to Anthony Davis. Poor protection - in addition to the massive downgrade in coaching - has transformed Colin Kaepernick into a turnover machine. Jim Harbaugh's not coming back, but the 49ers can at least find a replacement for Davis with one of the top prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Pick change; previously Robert Nkemdiche, DE/DT
Rd. 2, Pk. 5
Chris Jones, DT/3-4DE, Mississippi State
The 49ers have no pass rush with Justin Smith and Ray McDonald gone. That needs to change.
The 49ers have lost so much talent at the linebacker position. Here is an impact player to help make up for the losses.
In 2015, Smith has totaled 29 tackles, 4.5 for a loss, one sack, three passes broken up and one forced fumble (he was robbed of one by the official scorer). The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder was an impressive defender for Notre Dame in 2014. He was all over the field for the Fighting Irish with 112 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, one forced fumble, 3.5 sacks and two passes defended. Smith has speed and athleticism in the middle of the field with the ability to start in the middle or outside.
Pick change; previously Myles Jack, LB
Rd. 2, Pk. 8
The 49ers grab a young replacement for Anquan Boldin.
Williams has totaled 130 yards on 11 receptions and one touchdown to open 2015. In 2014, he led the Tigers with 45 receptions for 730 yards and five touchdowns while basically missing three games with a knee injury and being suspended for the Outback Bowl. Sources say that Williams has lots of character and off-the-field concerns with NFL teams.
The 6-foot-2, 216-pounder needs to improve his hands, but he has a serious combination of size, quickness and route-running. Even though 2014 was Williams' first season at Auburn, he supplanted Sammie Coates as the No. 1 receiver, and the Tigers went to Williams when they needed a big play to move the chains.
San Francisco has lost some real talent at linebacker on defense with Patrick Willis and others stepping away from the game and need to replace it. They can do that with Jaylon Smith who is probably the best defense player in this draft. He can play inside and outside. He can come off the edge and drop into coverage. He is simply a special talent.
By no means a sexy pick, Robinson will assuredly make for a good nose tackle in the NFL, maybe even become a great one. He will push the pocket with force that makes it feel like lineman are battling a coke machine with legs, opening up opportunities to pressure the QB. This trait will also help open up lanes of pursuit for linebackers seeking to stop the run.