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San Francisco 49ers

Stadium: Levi's Stadium | Coach: Jim Harbaugh
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense13th125.1 (11th)232.3 (17th)
Defense2nd84.9 (5th)221.1 (10th)

49ers report: Inside slant

The Sports Xchange
 
Inside slant · Notes, quotes · Strategy and personnel
 

The 49ers became one of the power brokers in the draft when they acquired a second first-round pick.

The club holds the Nos. 6 and 22 overall selections, which gives them plenty of options on draft day. The 49ers traded a second-round pick (No. 37 overall) and a third-round selection (No. 68) to the Broncos to get a second pick in the first round.

The 49ers have 10 picks in the seven-round draft. Their other picks are in the third round (No. 84), fourth round (No. 100), fifth round (No. 140), sixth round (Nos. 175 and 192), and seventh round (Nos. 213, 236 and 254).

"We feel like we acquired more value by making the trade for this pick," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "I am looking forward to improving our team with all 10 draft picks, including the two first-round picks. We will continue to build this team through the draft."

Using a widely circulated draft-pick value chart, the trade gave equal value to both the 49ers and Broncos. The No. 22 pick is worth 780 points of total value. The 37th pick is worth 530 points and the 68th pick is 250 points, totaling 780 points.

The 49ers have two first-round picks for the first time since 2000 when they selected linebacker Julian Peterson and cornerback Ahmed Plummer. Both players were immediate starters and played well for the 49ers until their production became limited due to injuries.

The 49ers have needs at virtually every position heading into this draft. They owned the league's worst offense and the league's worst defense. Moreover, on paper their roster has not improved since the beginning of last season.

Seven veteran starters from the start of the 2005 season are no longer with the club -- linebackers Julian Peterson, Andre Carter and Jamie Winborn; cornerback Ahmed Plummer; quarterback Tim Rattay; receiver Brandon Lloyd; and fullback Fred Beasley.

This offseason, the only starters the club has added are left guard Larry Allen and receiver Antonio Bryant. Veteran cornerbacks Walt Harris and Sammy Davis could compete for starting job, but appear better-suited as reserves. DRAFT STRATEGY:

The 49ers' starting lineup is in such sorry shape that the club could have conceivably drafted starters with all five of their draft picks in the first 100 selections. But coach Mike Nolan did not want to take any chances. He wants to make sure the club gets two players who he can count on to be around a while.

That is why the 49ers traded their picks in the second and third rounds to the Broncos for the No. 22 overall selection. With that selection, the 49ers are almost assured of looking to upgrade the league's worst defense.

But, first, the 49ers might look for a playmaker with their No. 6 pick to bring some life to the NFL's worst offense.

Unless they make a move up in the draft, which is a possibility, the 49ers' best bet would be to select Maryland tight end Vernon Davis. The club does not need a quarterback after selecting Alex Smith with the top overall pick last year, and the defensive players that they would like should already be gone.

The 49ers would love to see defensive end Mario Williams or linebacker A.J. Hawk still there at No. 6, but that does not appear likely. Conceivably, the 49ers could package their two first-round picks to move up to No. 3 to select Williams, but there appears a good chance Williams will be the second player chosen overall.

The 49ers' offense needs a lot of help, and Davis is the kind of player who can supply it. If the 49ers chose Davis, it would give them the kind of pass-catching tight end that can help turn around an offense.

The Chiefs and Chargers have been successful with a tight end as their leading receiver. The Chiefs had the No. 1 offense in the league last season, as tight end Tony Gonzalez led the team with 75 receptions. The Chargers ranked 10th in the league, with tight end Antonio Gates catching 89 passes for 1,101 yards and 10 touchdowns.

If the 49ers landed Davis in the first round, they could turn most of their attention the rest of the way to defense. They would likely get a cornerback or outside linebacker with their pick at No. 22. Whichever ever way they go, they would likely be able to get the second- or third-rated player at that position with their other first-round selection.

Among the cornerbacks who could be available at No. 22 are Tye Hill, Jimmy Williams, Johnathan Joseph, Antonio Cromartie and Richard Marshall. The outside linebackers the 49ers might consider are Ernie Sims, Manny Lawson, Chad Greenway and DeMeco Ryans.

Copyright (C) 2006 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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