2018 NFL Draft: Top Team Needs for the San Francisco 49ers

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 10: Jimmy Garoppolo
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 10: Jimmy Garoppolo /

The San Francisco 49ers are hoping to build on last year’s late success by filling their biggest team needs via the 2018 NFL Draft.

Jimmy Garoppolo‘s success at the end of season has the San Francisco 49ers feeling optimistic. With the quarterback position solved, they are looking to use the 2018 NFL Draft to address the rest of the team needs.

San Francisco had a very interesting free agency period. They had a ton of money to spend, but didn’t attack the market. Instead, most of their money was spent on signing Garoppolo to a front-loaded long-term contract.

This decision has left the roster with more holes to fill in the upcoming draft. Below is the San Francisco 49ers top team needs:

1. Linebacker

San Francisco had a need at linebacker even before Reuben Foster‘s latest run in with the law. The need has only become more critical with Foster dealing with some significant legal troubles. Luckily, the 49ers should be in prime position to solve the problem with the 9th pick in the draft.

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One of Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds or Georgia’s Roquan Smith should be available when the 49ers are on the clock. Both are high-end talents who are capable of starting from day one.

2. Wide Receiver

Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin are solid options for Garoppolo. Garcon is the veteran presence who runs sound routes. Goodwin offers the big-play threat thanks to his top-end speed. However, the rest of the wide receiver crops is uninspiring.

San Francisco also shouldn’t feel completely safe with Garcon and Goodwin. Garcon is coming off a major injury while last year was Goodwin’s best production of his career.

Look for the 49ers to attack this position in the middle rounds of the draft. Someone like Colorado State’s Michael Gallup would make sense in the 2nd round.

3. Cornerback

Adding Richard Sherman gives the 49ers secondary some credibility. However, he is working his way back from a major injury and starting to show signs of his age. The rest of the 49ers cornerback group is unproven.

San Francisco could use their top pick (No. 9 overall) on someone like Ohio State’s Denzel Ward. He would give them someone to build around in the secondary.

4. Pass Rusher

The 49ers defensive line has plenty of raw talent, but has lacked production. That group basically consists of 4 defensive tackles and no true edge rusher. DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas and Earl Mitchell are all better suited working along the interior.

5. Running Back

It was a bit of a shock to see the 49ers give Jerick McKinnon such a big deal. However, Kyle Shanahan obviously feels that he can get the most out of McKinnon’s raw talent. This signing doesn’t solidify the position and we should expect the 49ers to grab a running back at some point during the draft.