With free agency wrapping up it is time to focus our intensions on the upcoming NFL Draft. When the offseason began the San Francisco 49er’s top need was at wide receiver and the question was would they address it in free agency of in the draft. It seems they choose free agency with the acquisitions of Randy Moss and this year’s Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham. The Niners also signed wide receiver and return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. to a one year deal. Currently the Niners have Michael Crabtree, Kyle Williams, Moss, Manningham, and Ginn as their top five receivers on their roster. Look as if the Niners might not draft a receiver (at least not in the first round). If that is the case, who or what position will they be targeting in the first round.
After receiver, the Niners biggest need has become at right guard. We lost Adam Snyder to the Arizona Cardinals and backup guard Chilo Rachal is still testing free agency, so at the moment Daniel Kilgore is first on the depth chart if the season was to start tomorrow. You’re all probably wondering who the hell is Dan Kilgore; he was picked in the fifth round by the Niners in last year’s draft. In other words he has limited experience.
The top prospect in this year’s NFL Draft at guard is Stanford’s David DeCastro. Someone who coach Jim Harbaugh is very familiar with. It is likely that DeCastro will be long gone by the time the Niners are ready to make their pick, but a fellow Stanford teammate should still be available. Tight End Coby Fleener has been regarded as the best at his position in the draft and he would be an absolutely perfect fit to the Niners offense. It was obvious that the Niners offense was lacking fire power, particularly in the passing game. Moss and Manningham are great pickups, but coach Harbaugh prefers to run multiple tight end formations.
Now I know what you’re all thinking; we already have Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker as our tight ends. That’s perfect! Harbaugh loves running plays with two or three tight ends; he did it in Stanford many times with great success. Having Fleener (who by the way is 6’6’’, 247pounds, and can run a 4.45 forty yard dash) and Davis will put us in the competition as having the best tight end duo behind Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
Fleener would also be coming into a perfect situation. He already knows the coach (he played under Harbaugh when they won the Sugar Bowl in 2010), meaning he is quickly going to comprehend the offense and be able to contribute to the offense as earlier as week 1 of the 2012 season. I truly believe he would become the missing piece of the Niners offense. Imagine the touchdown opportunities in the red zone with Fleener (6’6’’ as previously mentioned), Moss (6’4’’), and Davis (6’3’’). That is too much size and speed. Factor in the running abilities of QB Alex Smith, the Niners red zone issue will be gone.
If Fleener is available, I do not see why the Niners and Harbaugh would not take him. He looks like a player that could potentially be mentioned in the same breath as Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham. I just hope he is still there at pick 30 since his stock has gone up after his pro day. The guard position can be address in the second round or by picking up a veteran free agent. Nonetheless, I cannot wait for the draft! GO NINERS!!!!!!!!!!!!
Niner Faithful do you agree or disagree? Who would you draft in the first round? Please leave comments.