Free Agency is just in it’s second week and signings are beginning to slow down. With the Draft next on the vagenda, it’s time to take a detailed look at each team’s acquisitions and losses and gauge a plan of attack for how they should approach the first three rounds of this year’s draft. We’ll start with the lowly Cleveland Browns and work our way all the way up to the Super Bowl Champs in New England. The team with a lot of rebuilding to do, the 49ers, are up today.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Team Needs: QB, WR, C, RT, TE, RB, S, CB
Free Agent Losses: S Antoine Bethea, K Phil Dawson, C Marcus Martin, WR Torrey Smith
Free Agent Acquisitions: WR Pierre Garcon, QB Brian Hoyer, QB Matt Barkley, OLB Brock Coyle, WR Marquise Goodwin, K Robbie Gould, FB Kyle Juszcyzk, TE Logan Paulsen, WR Aldrick Robinson, OLB Malcolm Smith
Potential Round 1 Targets: OLB Myles Garrett, QB Mitch Trubisky, QB DeShaun Watson, TE OJ Howard, S Jamal Adams, S Malik Hooker, RB Dalvin Cook, RB Leonard Fournette, WR Mike Williams, WR John Ross, S Jamal Adams, DE Jonathan Allen, DE Solomon Thomas
Potential Round 2 Targets: QB Deshone Kizer, QB Pat Mahomes, TE David Njoku, CB Marlon Humphrey, TE Evan Engram, CB Cordera Tankersley, CB Gareon Conley, CB TreDavious White, S Obi Melifonwu, S Budda Baker, CB Teez Tabor, WR Cooper Kupp, WR Zay Jones, RB Christian McCaffery, OT Cam Robinson, OT Garrett Bolles, OT Antonio Garcia
Potential Round 3 Targets: QB Davis Webb, QB Brad Kaaya, S Eddie Jackson, S Justin Evans, S Desmond King, S Marcus Maye, S Marcus Williams, TE Bucky Hodges, TE Jake Butt, CB Adoree Jackson, CB Sidney Jones, CB Cam Sutton,WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR Amara Darboh, RB D’Onta Foreman, RB Wayne Gallman, RB Joe Mixon, RB Samaje Perine, OT Adam Bisnowaty, OT Roderick Johnson, C Ethan Pocic, C Pat Elflein
Plan of Attack:
The 49ers head into the 2017 with a ton of holes to fill and a virgin GM, in former Bucs safety John Lynch. With the first pick they should just land their QB of the future and start building around him. It’s worth arguing if either Mitch Trubisky or DeShaun Watson is worth the second pick, but if the 49ers think either can lead their offense for the next decade, they have to pull the trigger. Both of these guys are similar in size and both are mobile. Trubisky probably has a stronger arm, while Watson has him beat in pure athletic ability. The plus side for the 49ers is that they did bring in Brian Hoyer, and he can be serviceable for a year until either one of these guys are ready to roll. If the 49ers don’t take a quarterback at pick 2, then the best value may be at the safety position. They are set at free safety with Eric Reid but could give him an elite partner in LSU’s Jamal Adams. Adams is the total package who can cover, hit, and come down with the ball. He’s an all around standout and could be a long time Pro Bowler in the NFL. One other area the 9ers could address at pick 2, would be defensive end. It actually isn’t that big a need for them, but they may see either Jonathan Allen or Solomon Thomas as a prospect that is too good to pass up.
In round 2, the 49ers could go a number of ways. They have a lot of wide receivers on their roster, but when an aging Pierre Garcon is your top threat, you got problems. So that is an area they could look, with guys like Cooper Kupp and Zay Jones being options. They could also land a big time TE, as they mostly have glorified blocking tight ends on their roster. Miami’s David Njoku would be a fine choice. He’s got the size and speed to create mismatches against linebackers and safeties. He would especially help the development of a young quarterback, as he can become their safety valve and dump off option if their other reads fall apart. The 49ers could also bolster the back end of their defense with this pick. They could look at a safety like Budda Baker or Obi Melifonwu if either falls to Day 2. They could also have plenty of corners staring them in the face. The 49ers corner depth chart isn’t going to intimidate any opposing quarterbacks, so they could look to upgrade the talent. Florida’s Teez Tabor, Ohio St.’s Gareon Conley, or LSU’s TreDavious White could all be considered. Any of those three could challenge for a starting spot as rookies on this team. Another area the 49ers could address early in round 2 would be right tackle. Currently, they have something called Trent Brown penciled in as the starter and that needs to change. If Utah’s Garrett Bolles or Alabama’s Cam Robinson slides to the top of the second, they’d have to give it a long hard thinkin’. Robinson is a first round talent who could fall due to character concerns. If the 49ers vet him thoroughly, and are okay with him as a human, they may just find their long term right tackle.
In round 3 the 49ers could again look at upgrading their secondary. They could first look at safeties like Eddie Jackson, Marcus Maye, or Iowa’s Desmond King, should he slide. They could consider a corner like Adoree Jackson or Cam Sutton. They could even take a medical flyer on first round talent but recently blown ACL, Sidney Jones. They could look at tackles, with Roderick Johnson from Florida State being a top option if available. Wide receiver should also be considered here, and it would be hard to pass on USC’s JuJu Smith-Schuster if he starts to fall down the board. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the 49ers grab a RB early either. Current starter Carlos Hyde is often injured and the team could look for a solid backup/complimentary piece. If they go that route, they could have excellent options available in a what is a deep running back class. Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine, Clemson’s Wayne Gallman, Texas’ D’Onta Foreman, and Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara would all be solid values. Troubled Sooner Joe Mixon would also need to be considered here. He is a borderline first round talent, whose Draft stock is in flux with video surfacing of him cold cocking a woman. Though his character is questioned for good reason, his talent can’t be denied. The 49ers could also grab a QB in the third if they haven’t done so yet, and would be looking at Miami’s Brad Kaaya or Davis Weeb from CAL.