In lieu of looking at current draft needs, let’s take a look at who our 2016 free agents are.
This way (for me at least) we’ll know what may be on Baalke’s wish list going forward. Next year’s FAs are:
▪ Wide receiver Anquan Boldin
▪ Outside linebacker Aldon Smith
▪ Tight end Vernon Davis
▪ Guard Alex Boone
Does this change the strategy? Well. A little, I guess. The defense already had its purge with retirements and defections. The only position I haven’t heard a lot of clamor about regarding our draft is TE. Actually, Funchess is in our sights as a possible 2nd rounder, so he has been bandied about. He’s a tweener WR/TE, but is a big red-zone target, so he certainly could be a not to the future as VDs value sinks to penny-stock-land. And I certainly don’t think we re-sign him, but this season will tell us something.
WR has been a big hole in this team for lo so many years now. Pretty much since TO left in 2003 anyway. Crabs has had his decent moments, but he’s hiking across the Bay for browner pastures. Patton and Ellington are the latest batch of underachieving WRs drafted by Baalke. Thing is, they don’t fit his mold of bigger bigger bigger, so you have to wonder why he went this route AFTER getting burned by the AJ Jenkins/LMJ small guy picks. That being said, the guys in this WR crop, another strong group, could yield us DaVante Parker. A guy who is 6’1 and 209 lb. and ran a 4.45 40. Works for me. I wouldn’t trade up for a WR, but he should be there.
If not? OLB is a concern what with Aldon Smith on his last straw screw-up-wise, and the inconsistent play of Ahmad Brooks. Aaron Lynch is fine as a rotation guy, but no one would think he’s an every down guy. Dante Fowler won;t make it to us, but Vic Beasley could. The other top OLBs all seem to be in a race to see who blows the most money before the draft. DE certainly fits here as well. Malcolm Brown and Arick Armstead being on the wish list, with local kid Henry Anderson from Stanfoo a possibility as a later-round sleeper.
Tackle? Possible with the imminent departure of Aaron Boone. Andrus Peate’s head has popped up on the radar recently, behind Ereck Flowers as the top tackle. I suppose that’s a possibility, and the line certainly strugled last year, but the hope is Brandon Thomas is fully recovered from his knee injury, and Marcus Martin is a) healed up, and B) can slide to guard. Not as big a need for me as D line or CB. Somewhere where we were decimated this offseason.
So, looking to the future may not make anything hammer out any differently, but there is a definite need for a WR. I’m leaning away from these guys going CB in the 1st round and am now leaning back to WR. I’d love to get Parker, but we’ll see. I don’t think we’ll trade up, but we will see soon enough.