The San Francisco 49ers are in a position that they haven’t been in, in quite sometime. The team does not have any huge glaring holes. All 11 starters from the NFLs best defense are back. Roster concerns and weaknesses have been addressed. The wide receiver position has two big additions with Mario Manningham and Randy Moss now aboard. The short yardage running game now has Brandon Jacobs. And Alex Smith is once again back at QB after asking Peyton Manning out on a date and getting the cold shoulder.
Sure the 49ers have a perceived need at right guard. But that’s without the knowledge of what the team thinks about Daniel Kilgore and Alex Boone. Boone, who has been a tackle exclusively to this point in his career will also compete with Kilgore and any veterans or draft picks brought into camp. Many very good OGs are found in the mid to late rounds of the draft. It’s not a stretch to think that Jim Harbaugh is fine with Kilgore going into camp penciled in as a starter.
And while some continue to say the team needs a #1 WR. I argue that Michael Crabtree has yet to have a competent passing game to prove himself and had a very good year last season. Let’s not write him off yet. And Manningham is still very young, Cruz and Hicks are dynamic WRs and not many in the NFL would start over them. WR can still be considered a “need” but it’s not a desperate need anymore.
What the 49ers need is to tighten up the depth. They do not need to reach for any specific position. Unless the team falls in love with one particular player and wants to trade up for that guy. The team has no reason to do anything but sit back, and take the best player available, regardless of position. Well, almost. It wouldn’t make any sense to take a QB with four already on the roster including one in Colin Kaepernick you hope to be your future. The team will probably ignore inside line backers early but will look to add depth late in the draft at the position. Aside from that the 49ers could really take any position on the field not only in the first round of the draft, but all throughout.
The 49ers pick #30 in the first round and have seven picks in the 2012 NFL Draft. Given the current roster and existing depth, I don’t expect every draft pick to make the final 53. If the BPA at #30 is an OG or a WR then fine, the 49ers can take him and allow him to compete with the veterans they have at that position for playing time. But this year, unlike any of the past 10 years, the 49ers do not need any of their rookies to step right in and play a big time role. The team can afford to develop their rookies and tuck them away on the bench, depth for now. A refreshing alternative to desperately needing every rookie to come in and set the world on fire.