The San Francisco 49ers should be focused on two things heading into the 2017 NFL Draft: trading down and picking up as many defensive studs as possible.
While the perception may linger, the fact remains that quarterback-needy teams, well, still need a quarterback. Historically speaking, chances are good that a team will trade up to take a signal caller. If so, the San Francisco 49ers could walk away with a king’s ransom.
If not, the 49ers should take a quarterback with the No. 2 overall selection. No other position is as important as the quarterback position. But, who should they take? This writer’s preference is former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.
But, that matters absolutely none. That is nothing but the fan in this writer’s heart. What matters is what head coach Kyle Shanahan tells team general manager John Lynch come April 27. They need to select whomever they believe is the best quarterback for coach Shanny’s system.
Draft Defense In A Loaded Class
Aside from attempting to trade down and/or taking a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick, the 49ers should select defensive players to restock the roster on that side of the ball. Last season, the 49ers were a swiss cheese defense, setting team records for total rushing yards allowed in a season.
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This is unacceptable, plain and simple. New defensive coordinator Robert Saleh stated in his first press conference that they would stop the run. Not attempt to stop the run, not do everything they can to stop the run. He clearly and boldly stated the they [the 49ers defense] would stop the run, saying this per 49ers.com:
"The way we align, our demeanor, the responsibility of the defensive players, we will stop the run on this defense"
Lynch needs to give him as much talent to do just that. Without a doubt, the 49ers defense is its biggest flaw. The loss of starting cornerback Tramaine Brock doesn’t make it any better.
Fortunately, this class is loaded in two premier positions — edge rusher and cornerback. This class is also loaded in other positions such as running back and tight end. In no way should the 49ers ignore offensive prospects.
If the better prospect is an offensive prospect then the 49ers should definitely draft that player. However, if the grades are similar, they should lean towards defense. The 49ers employed a similar strategy through free agency by leaning towards signing mostly offensive players.
Trading Down From Their Other Picks
In this draft, the 49ers can find quality edge rushers and cornerbacks late into Days 2 and 3. Not to mention, while everyone is so focused on the 49ers trading their No. 2 overall pick, they can and should trade their other picks.
This draft is loaded. Why not pick up as many young, talented prospects as you can. Who knows what 2018 will bring. This season, the 49ers can make sure that they rebuild one side of the ball. That will go a long way to bringing the Red and Gold back to respectability.