So much of what the 49ers do in the NFL Draft will be contingent on the team’s actions in free agency, which officially kicks off on March 13.
That goes for every other team, sure, but the Niners have an interesting target choice with perennial Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas, who’d fit a glaring need at strong safety. Thomas wants to be the league’s highest-paid safety in 2019, and the 49ers have more than enough cap space to make it work.
If that falls through, expect San Francisco to target a safety earlier in the draft. Perhaps someone like Delaware’s Nasir Adderley comes to mind.
Let’s assume, however, Thomas signs with the 49ers. That doesn’t completely eliminate the need for safety depth, as the Niners were forced to use seven different safeties over the course of last season.
Kentucky’s Darius West comes to mind here in Round 6 (the Niners don’t have a pick in Round 5, currently).
West, 5-foot-11 and 208 pounds, is built more for in-the-box duties at the pro level. But the experience at both free and strong safety spots is a bonus, especially for depth. And while he has some injury history, West does bring a level of physicality to his game.
Running a 4.40 40-yard time during his combine workouts also should help his draft stock.