No. 4: Strong Safety
The 49ers picked up the team option on defensive back Jimmie Ward, so he’ll be around through the 2018 season.
Ward is expected to move from cornerback to free safety, which alleviates this need to a large extent. And if his next two seasons go well, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Niners extend him even longer.
But strong safety Eric Reid is entering a contract year, and it’s hard to envision any scenario in which the 49ers re-sign him. And unless backup safety Jaquiski Tartt makes huge strides in 2017, it’s likely this will be a major position of focus a year from now.
Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor may be the biggest name on the free-agent market. And considering Seattle’s cap restraints, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him walk. If not Chancellor, Green Bay Packers strong safety Morgan Burnett would be a solid target. Same goes for Denver Broncos safety T.J. Ward.
Jordan Whitehead out of Pittsburgh and Florida State’s Jerwin Williams may also be NFL Draft prospects to watch on San Francisco’s radar here.