San Francisco 49ers: 2019 NFL Draft primer with needs and 7-round mock

Commissioner Roger Goodell names a pick by the San Francisco 49ers during the 2016 NFL Draft (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Commissioner Roger Goodell names a pick by the San Francisco 49ers during the 2016 NFL Draft (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /
3 of 6
San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals Week 5 position grades and analysis
San Francisco 49ers FS Adrian Colbert (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

49ers’ Top Positional Needs in the 2019 NFL Draft

Niner Noise’s Jeremy Wohlfart already ranked the top four positional needs for San Francisco in this year’s NFL Draft as follows:

  1. Safety
  2. Red-zone receiving option
  3. Linebacker
  4. Interior offensive line

According to most draft experts, the Niners are expected to reinforce their defensive line in Round 1, most likely grabbing Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa at No. 2 overall, should he fall beyond the top-drafting Arizona Cardinals.

If not Bosa, Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is widely viewed to be the second best prospect in this year’s class.

The 49ers reinforced their pass rush already this offseason, trading for former Kansas City Chiefs EDGE Dee Ford, who recorded a career-high 13.0 sacks last season and led the league with seven forced fumbles. Paired with Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who also had a career-high 12.0 sacks last year, San Francisco’s defense should improve upon the 37 sacks (tied for 22nd) it boasted in 2018.

But what of those other needs?

San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers /

San Francisco 49ers


The team re-signed oft-injured defensive back Jimmie Ward to a one-year deal and is hoping third-year pro Adrian Colbert can bounce back from an otherwise disappointing 2018 campaign.

Neither may be long-term options, however, which is crucial considering the importance of a single-high safety in coordinator Robert Saleh’s Cover 3 defense.

Red-Zone Receiving Option

Wohlfart was intentionally vague about this particular need. It could be a wide receiver or tight end, namely someone to complement Pro Bowler George Kittle. Remember, however, no 49ers wideout reached 500 receiving yards in 2018.

And with head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense also finishing dead last in red-zone touchdown efficiency a year ago, one can see how a potent pass catcher should be atop San Francisco’s priority list.


The Niners have their WILL and MIKE linebackers set for 2019 with Kwon Alexander and Fred Warner in place, respectively. What’s needed, aside from depth, is someone to handle strong-side (SAM) duties.

Interior Offensive Line

Both Laken Tomlinson and center Weston Richburg are coming off knee injuries suffered last season. And while the team re-signed versatile lineman Mike Person during the offseason, a true upgrade would be a nice choice.

Especially after Pro Football Focus ranked San Francisco’s offensive line 15th last season despite a flurry of 2018 changes up front.