The San Francisco 49ers have been making headlines this offseason, mostly all about their recent coaching change. With it being that time of year, the NFL Combine began yesterday, he also shared a few thoughts on the upcoming draft. The 49ers are at a crossroads of sorts, they have several players entering free agency and not a lot of cap room. They can come out of this with good cap room, but it means decisions will have to be made. General manager Trent Baalke addressed the media at the combine yesterday.
As the title of this piece states, Baalke and his scouts have identified a specific area of need and are focused on it. Last year’s receiving corps had a lot of experience, but was short on size and speed. Most of the pieces resembled the others and none that received regular playing time could stretch a defense vertically on a regular basis. Tight end Vernon Davis continued to be the team’s one and only deep threat.
Baalke: Anytime you finish 8-8 there’s a lot to address. We are in the process of addressing those things.
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_PPI) February 18, 2015
The 49ers missed a huge opportunity to find players that could ‘match with their quarterback’ last season in the draft, as there were several very good young wideouts available even into the fourth round. While this year’s class isn’t as deep, there is talent to be found. Specifically the type of talent that can upgrade a mediocre passing attack. The 49ers have been able to take advantage of one of Colin Kaepernick’s biggest strength’s in his legs. They haven’t really taken advantage of that arm yet, without having a deep threat outside of Davis.
In the four years with Harbaugh at the helm, the 49ers put together an outstanding record outside of the 8-8 finish last season. That success being noted, they struggled mightily with the Seattle Seahawks. Not only did they not attack them right schematically but they didn’t have the right pieces at receiver.
A quick look at this year’s Super Bowl showed that a offense with different types of pieces can have success against Seattle. Tom Brady and company took advantage of a couple of their player’s quickness and suddenness, getting those guys in space. The 49ers possibly have a couple of those types of players, but they didn’t play much last year in Patton and Ellington. They also didn’t have any players taller than 6’2 on the outside, so a player with great size would help as well.
Fortunately for the 49ers, there’s several players in this year’s draft that could possibly come in and contribute right away. More importantly, they would be pieces that ‘fit’ their quarterback’s strengths. DeVante Parker, Kevin White, Dorial Green-Beckham and Phillip Dorsett are just a few that come to mind.
While there are many decisions to be made for the 49ers before they even get to the draft, keep an eye out on the receiver groups at this year’s combine. A couple of those guys could become Kap’s new weapons.