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San Francisco 49ers Team Needs

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San Francisco 49ers Team Needs
By: Staff

The nightmare has continued in 2005 for 49er fans. The once proud franchise will finish in last place again and among the worst teams in the league. But, this team did show a glimpse of life under first year head coach Mike Nolan. Despite another season of single digit wins, the 49ers were a spirited group this year that played hard and often competitively in most of their games. There is still plenty of work to be done though in order to get the five time Super Bowl winning franchise back to respectability, and it will start in this springís draft.

Playmaker
It can be debated back and forth what direction the Niners should go with what will likely be a top five pick. No matter what direction they go in, itís obvious they need more playmakers on both sides of the ball. Reggie Bush is certainly on their radar as he is for a couple of other team who might get the top pick, If San Francisco loses out on the top offensive playmaker, they could look at the defensive side of the ball where names like Mario Williams, A.J. Hawk and Jimmy Williams make more than their share of plays.

Running Back
A need for a franchise that has squeezed just about everything it could out of Kevan Barlow. Barlow is an ideal third down back and would be among the best backups in the league, but he doesnít do any one thing well enough to merit being a starter. Bush is the obvious player to plug in and immediately add one or two wins to the bottom line. Laurence Maroney and DeAngelo Williams are the other top back in this draft although neither is in the class of Bush.

Cornerback
This unit has been abused this season by opposing quarterbacks to the tune of 277.6 yards per game. Ahmed Plummer was an impressive young corner with twelve interceptions in four years before injuries limited him to 6 games last season and just 3 this year. Shawntae Spencer is the team leader in picks this season with three and looks like a good young player but this group would be instantly upgraded by the addition of someone like Jimmy Williams.

Defensive End
Bryant Young, with eight sacks, is having his best year since 2000. But he is in his 12th year and will be 34 years old at the end of January. Undrafted free agent Marques Douglas lines up at the other end spot and has a mere one sack on the season. Selecting one of the top pass rushing ends would also help the suspect defensive backfield. Mario Williams and Mathias Kiwanuka are the top two rated pass rushers in the draft and each would help upgrade the 49er defense.

Wide Receiver
To say that rookie quarterback Alex Smith has struggled might be the understatement of the 2005 season. Itís obvious that if he is to become the signal caller the Niners envisioned when they took him with the very first selection of this past draft, heís going to need a few more weapons to work with at receiver. Former fourth round pick Brandon Lloyd has been a pleasant surprise but is more suited to being a number two pass catcher. Arnaz Battle is listed as the other starter in this offense and will probably never be more than a number three or four receiver. This is not a very deep draft at the receiver position but the Niners could look at a group that includes the likes of Martin Nance, Santonio Holmes, Hank Baskett and Derek Hagan in the second round. Nance and Holmes are the top two rated receivers by most draft experts, but neither is worthy of a high first round pick but could be nice additions in the second.

The list of needs is long in San Francisco so no matter what direction they end up going in April, it will likely be the correct one.

Discuss the 49ers team needs in our San Francisco 49ers Forum.

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