The San Francisco 49ers suffered a disappointing loss in the Super Bowl vs. the Baltimore Ravens, but they have nothing to hang their heads about. This team had a great season, and showed that even amidst a quarterback controversy, they could win ball games and make it to the big one.
Colin Kaepernick is an exciting prospect, and should be one of the more intriguing players in the NFL next season going in as a full-time starter. Still, this Niners team is not without weakness. Here are my top needs for the 49ers, in no particular order.
1. Defensive Line
Justin Smith is getting old, and Isaac Sopoaga is a free agent this offseason. Not only that, but Ricky Jean-Francois is set to hit the open market as well, and the Niners have two undrafted free agents as backups. This is a position the team should look to shore up early on in the draft.
2. Wide Receiver
Michael Crabtree had an excellent season in 2012, and I think it’s something for the Niners to build on. However, Randy Moss was really the team’s only vertical threat. Mario Manningham was brought in and ended up on IR, so he’ll be back, as well as first round pick A.J. Jenkins. The Niners would be wise to add some more competition here, or maybe go out and get a guy like Mike Wallace to provide a guy who can stretch the field.
**Acquired WR Anquan Boldin from Baltimore Ravens for 2013 6th round pick**
The Niners have a really good offensive line, but they could use a guy who can rotate on the interior if someone gets injured. They have Leonard Davis as a free agent this year, and Jonathan Goodwin is a 34 year old at the center position. They need to look for some youth here.
4. Return Specialist
Ted Ginn Jr. could be on his way out. He is a solid return man, despite his inability to contribute at WR. The Niners should see if they can’t find a guy who can play at least two ways, either offense/defense AND special teams.
David Akers was not good in 2012 after an All-Pro season in 2011. There are some really good kickers to be had this year in the draft, and the Niners would be wise to grab one.
6. Tight End
This may be more of a want, but San Francisco likes to use a lot of two TE looks, and Delanie Walker is a free agent. This year’s class of TEs is really good in my opinion, and the Niners would do themselves a favor by going out and grabbing a guy that can be another outlet for Colin Kaepernick.
7. Defensive Back
It might be time for an influx of youth and new blood in the defensive backfield. Dashon Goldson is a free agent, and outside of him, the Niners don’t really have any of “their” guys in the defensive backfield. They should look to draft some kids who can come in and make an impact in special packages as rookies.