The 2018 NFL Draft is now under a month away, which means that Draftmas is back. Draftmas will take a look at each NFL team heading into the NFL Draft, what their needs are and who they could be targeting. You will find it here. Draftmas will continue with the San Francisco 49ers 2018 NFL Draft profile.
For the San Francisco 49ers, the beginning of the 2017 season was a complete disaster. The 49ers lost their first nine games and entered December with a 1-10 record. They then got hot, winning their last five games in a row. This hot streak was sparked by the addition of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who came in a trade with the New England Patriots.
Offensively, the 49ers exceeded all expectations, thanks to new head coach Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers ranked ninth in passing yards per game and 12th in total offense. Their rushing attack was not as impressive, ranking 21st in the league. The struggles in the running game were mainly due to average offensive line play and constantly playing from behind last season.
The Garoppolo trade was the highlight of the year in San Francisco, and it appears that the 49ers now have their quarterback of the future. Garoppolo signed a five-year, $137 million contract extension with the team in February. The 49ers will look to add talent around their new quarterback during the offseason. They recently signed running back Jerick McKinnon and center Weston Richburg in free agency.
On defense, the 49ers ranked near the bottom of the league in nearly every category. Despite having some talented players (DeForest Buckner and Reuben Foster), the Niners struggled to stop anyone in 2017. The team signed former Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman to a three-year deal, but there is still much more work to be done.
Aside from defensive tackle and cornerback, the 49ers could use help at any position on the defensive side of the ball.
Picks and Needs
The San Francisco 49ers have nine picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. This will give them plenty of opportunities to continue rebuilding their team with young talent.
First round (1 pick): 9
Second round (1): 59
Third round (1): 70, 74
Fourth round (1): 128
Fifth round (1): 143
Sixth round (1): 184
Seventh round (1): 223, 240
Running back – This may be an odd choice since the 49ers recently signed Jerick McKinnon to a four-year, $30 million deal. However, McKinnon and Matt Breida are both pass-catching backs. Adding a power back later in the draft for early downs will form a more complete running back room.
Wide receiver – Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin are talented pass catchers, but neither are true No. 1 receivers. Finding Garoppolo a legitimate weapon in the passing game would make this offense one of the league’s best.
Guard – The 49ers signed free agents Weston Richburg and Jonathan Cooper in free agency to help their offensive line. However, if you are going to pay your quarterback over $27 million per year, you need to do everything possible to protect him.
Linebacker – When he is on the field, Reuben Foster is a force in the middle of the 49ers defense. However, outside linebackers Malcolm Smith and Eli Harold are just average starters. Adding more talent around Foster will help unlock his full potential and fix the run defense.
Safety – The absence of Eric Reid leaves a hole in the back of the defense. The 49ers’ pass defense was below average in 2017, and a rangy free safety will help limit any big passing plays. With a new safety and an improved cornerback group, the 49ers’ secondary could greatly improve.
Pick No. 9: Derwin James, S, Florida State
As a former safety himself, general manager John Lynch knows the importance of an enforcer in the backfield. Derwin James is best suited as a strong safety but can play free safety as well. He is extremely versatile and can excel in almost any defensive scheme. In his time at Florida State, he displayed excellent ball skills and tackling ability. If the 49ers can pair James with their improved cornerback corps, their secondary could quietly be one of the league’s best.
Pick No. 59: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
Hernandez may not make it past the first round, but this year’s draft is very deep for interior offensive linemen. This may allow Hernandez to slip to the 49ers at pick No. 59. Hernandez is somewhat undersized but has all of the traits of a starting guard in the NFL. He displayed excellent strength and run-blocking ability and performs adequately in pass protection. If Hernandez manages to fall to pick No. 59, the 49ers should jump at the chance to draft him.
Pick No. 70: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
Nick Chubb is the type of running back that could be the thunder to Jerick McKinnon’s lightning. He does not display excellent speed or catching ability but could be a solid early-down back. Chubb runs with a low center of gravity and is very strong in between the tackles. If he falls this far in the draft, the 49ers can form an impressive three-headed running back committee.
Pick No. 74: Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
Wide receiver is not a deep position in this year’s draft, so it may be wise to wait until the later rounds to add another pass catcher. Miller is not the big-bodied threat the 49ers need but can be a strong supporting member in the passing game. He shows outstanding potential with good route running and work ethic. Miller still needs to improve his reliability and avoid costly drops. If so, he could get playing time early as the 49ers’ third receiver.
The San Francisco 49ers’ main goal during the draft should be to surround Jimmy Garoppolo with as much talent as possible. With a limited amount of talented tight ends and wide receivers, the 49ers may focus on improving the running game, which was one of the league’s worst in 2017. After having a solid draft, the 49ers may have a chance at making the playoffs as a Wild Card in 2018.
Enjoy the days of Draftmas here at The Game Haus! Make sure to tune in tomorrow for the Oakland Raiders 2018 NFL Draft profile.