SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Three positions the 49ers still need to fill this offseason

Apr 9, 2024, 1:10 PM | Updated: 1:59 pm

The San Francisco 49ers offensive line is seen with the Baltimore Ravens defensive line at the line...

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 25: The San Francisco 49ers offensive line is seen with the Baltimore Ravens defensive line at the line of scrimmage in action during a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens at Levi's Stadium on December 25, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Robin Alam/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

(Photo by Robin Alam/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

With only a few weeks to go until the 2024 NFL Draft, the 49ers have filled out their roster on most fronts. However, there are some positions that need a little more attention than others, on both sides of the football.

The Red & Gold are equipped with 10 draft picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, hoping to rebuild the depth chart after another mass exodus this offseason. Some positions may need a veteran presence though, especially on defense. Finding the balance of filling out the 90-man roster correctly for SF is a balancing act that general manager John Lynch needs to get right in order to make another Super Bowl run in 2024. 

So let’s explore those options, and what positions the 49ers should be focusing on in the draft, and/or free agency.

OL/DL Depth

Current Room (18): 

Offense: Trent Williams, Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, Jon Feliciano, Colton McKivitz, Spencer Burford, Brandon Parker 

Defense: Nick Bosa, Leonard Floyd, Javon Hargrave, Maliek Collins, Yetur Gross-Matos, Jordan Elliott, Kevin Givens, Drake Jackson, Robert Beal Jr., T.Y. McGill

Available Options:

Free Agency: Laken Tomlinson, Cody Whitehair, Mekhi Beckton, Fletcher Cox, Carl Lawson, Emmanuel Ogbah

NFL Draft: Any Guard/Tackle, Any Defensive Linemen

The 49ers’ biggest area still to address is the same as when the season ended: Offensive and Defensive Line.

SF has built a “strength in numbers” approach to the trenches, surrounding elite talent with reliable rotational pieces that have raw attributes. It’s worked and backfired in some respects, particularly on the OL. But the draft can fix all of that.

The 49ers need to add another member to the right side of the OL, especially a combo guard/tackle. Colton McKivitz and Jon Feliciano have been nice players in their roles, but nailing another stud young OL opposite of Trent Williams should be a priority. And this draft has the goods to do so. 

On defense, a mixture of both draft and free agency could be the key. Lynch has already done a solid job in replacing Arik Armstead and several rotation members. But, in order to have a well-rounded unit, they have to strike oil at the end of April. Or, just add another quality veteran to the rotation. 

Either way, defensive line coach Kris Kocurek can make lemons out of lemonade.

Secondary

Current Room (10): 

Cornerbacks: Charvarius Ward, Deommodore Lenoir, Issac Yiadom, Ambry Thomas, Samuel Womack III, Chase Lucas 

Safeties: Talanoa Hufanga, Ji’Ayir Brown, Goerge Odum, Tayler Hawkins 

Available Options:

Free Agency: Justin Simmons, Xavien Howard, Eddie Jackson, Adoree’ Jackson, Cam Sutton

NFL Draft: Mike Sainristill, Khyree Jackson, T.J. Tampa, Josh Newton, Jaden Hicks, Jaylin Simpson, Cole Bishop

For the first time in a long time, the 49ers feel a piece or two away from having a top-ranked secondary. And yet, it’s something they need to address this offseason.

SF’s starting cornerbacks feel mostly set, with Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir locked in. However, pushing the latter inside could unlock an even more high-powered unit if they get the right piece. That could mean a quality veteran still out there, and there are a few intriguing names.

Safety seems more of a puzzling predicament, with two young bucks that play similar styles in Brown and Hufanga. With Logan Ryan and Tashaun Gipson no longer on the roster, adding a quality veteran back there could be the biggest difference next season. 

SF has been eyeing former All-Pro Justin Simmons this offseason, but they need his price to go down before they can add him. If it does, that’s a unit that could be top-10 next season. 

The 49ers could also add through the draft, or let some young prospects have another crack at the rotation. But if they want another SB run, getting the secondary in order is a necessity. 

Tight End

Current Room (4): 

George Kittle, Cameron Latu, Eric Saubert, Brayden Willis

Available Options: 

Free Agency: Robert Tonyan Jr., Ross Dwelley, C.J. Uzomah, Geoff Swaim, Tyler Kroft

NFL Draft: Ja’Tavion Sanders, Cade Stover, Theo Johnson, Jaheim Bell

It’s no secret the 49ers have been eyeing a backup to George Kittle at tight end, almost poaching Brock Wright from the Detroit Lions last week. Instead, SF signed veteran Eric Saubert Monday, a player known for his blocking prowess. While that’s a solid signing, Lynch probably isn’t done adding that the position group.

The Red & Gold should be looking for reliability and consistency at tight end, something needed, especially considering Kittle’s injury history. Outside of the veterans on hand, second-year players Cameron Latu and Brayden Willis could get more of a run in 2024. But that will all depend on how they attack their first offseason in the NFL.

And judging bystanders the 49ers’ actions, there’s some skepticism. This is why going the route of adding another veteran could be the easiest path forward for dependable play behind Kittle. 

Key offseason dates for the San Francisco 49ers

  • April 15 First Day of Voluntary Workouts
  • April 25-27 – 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit
  • May 20-21, May 23, May 28-29, May 31–OTAs
  • June 4-6 Mandatory Minicamp

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