San Francisco 49ers: Early look at team needs in 2019 NFL Draft

"THE PICK IS IN" for the San Francisco 49ers during the 2018 NFL Draft (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
"THE PICK IS IN" for the San Francisco 49ers during the 2018 NFL Draft (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – AUGUST 25: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts gets sacked by Jeremiah Attaochu #92 and Cassius Marsh #54 of the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter of a preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 25, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Outside Pass-Rusher

Pressing Need: LEO Edge Rusher

Perhaps San Francisco should have made this priority No. 1 entering 2018, as the team finished 27th last year in sacks with just 30 quarterback takedowns.

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The glaring weakness, of course, was at the right defensive end spot, or LEO, where defensive coordinator Robert Saleh would ideally like to place his best pure pass-rusher. Right now, that job is going to Cassius Marsh — a player who entered this season with just six sacks over his four-year career.

Not exactly eye-popping numbers.

Unfortunately for the Niners, free agency offered little chances at upgrading this spot. And the 49ers’ efforts in this year’s NFL Draft led the team away from taking a flier on what ended up being a thin edge-bender class.

Look for that to change in 2019, however.

The 2019 draft is supposed to be laden with both interior and exterior pass-rushers. A team can grab any one of Clemson’s front defenders and immediately upgrade the pass rush heading into next season. And that’s just one route to take. There are plenty of others too.

If one had to guess, John Lynch looks to grab his LEO pass-rusher with the team’s top pick in next year’s draft.

Next. Way-too-soon 49ers 7-round mock NFL Draft for 2019. dark

And San Francisco’s defense would be all the more potent as a result.