The San Francisco 49ers head towards the 2017 NFL Draft with a number of needs. And adding some help at safety could be one route taken, depending on how the front office views its current crop of players.
If they wanted, the San Francisco 49ers could roll into the 2017 season with incumbent defensive backs Eric Reid and Jimmie Ward holding down their safety position.
But with the NFL Draft kicking off on April 27, and the Niners holding the No. 2 overall pick, this spot could wind up experiencing a good deal of shakeups.
If general manager John Lynch elects to use his first couple of picks elsewhere, it’s probably the following scenario comes into play.
Ward would move from cornerback to free safety — a move Lynch eluded to, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
“I think we’re going to do what we think’s best for our team, and Jimmie, I think, provides a unique versatility and we’re going to try to take advantage of that,” Lynch said.
Lynch also expressed the desire to find a free safety like that of the Seattle Seahawks, Earl Thomas.
And then there’s Reid. Entering a contract year, Reid’s play hasn’t quite emulated that of his rookie 2013 season, when he was nominated for the Pro Bowl. But a move to strong safety might wind up being a good change.
It’s a move envisioned by defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.
“Yeah, Eric is going to be more of a box safety for sure,” Saleh said, via the team’s website.
But what if San Francisco makes a move, or two, via the NFL Draft?
A Deep NFL Draft Safety Class
This year’s draft provides a lot of worthy options at safety.
Two of the biggest names are Ohio State free safety Malik Hooker and LSU strong safety Jamal Adams.
Hooker and Adams are likely both top-10 picks, and it wouldn’t be a reach at all if the Niners selected either with their first pick.