Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The 49ers need help at a couple defensive positions. With plenty of draft picks at their disposal, which direction will they go in the first round? One mock draft sees a stud defensive lineman heading to San Francisco.
The San Francisco 49ers will have the 31st overall pick at the 2013 NFL Draft. While the roster is still in great shape moving forward, there are a couple of areas to address with their league-high 11 draft picks.
Perhaps the most pressing need for San Francisco is to bolster their secondary. While the unit ranked fourth against the pass in 2012, they were continually exposed during the playoffs by the likes of Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan. There is also the concern of a weakened pass rush whenever veteran defensive tackle Justin Smith was unable to play. The 49ers defense revolves around Smith getting pressure up the middle, and that was hardly the case in the Super Bowl.
With their first-round pick this April, Josh Norris of RotoWorld sees the Niners selecting Alabama defensive lineman Jesse Williams:
Williams is widely considered a nose tackle prospect, and although he could play it in the NFL, the Australian also played the 5 technique end spot for some time at Alabama. We all saw the 49ers defense take a step back when Justin Smith was sidelined. Williams is beastly strong and flashes penetration ability.
Williams, who is a massive 6'4 and 320 pounds, seems to be an ideal fit for San Francisco's 3-4 scheme. He can play all over the line, and given the versatility of fellow pass rusher Aldon Smith, Coach Harbaugh and his staff would surely figure out a way to incorporate the rookie into multiple packages.
SB Nation's latest mock draft had different ideas for San Francisco. Instead of beefing up the defensive line, Matthew Fairburn thinks the team takes safety Jonathan Cyprien out of Florida International. It may be a bit of a reach, but Cyprien is one of the more NFL-ready players available in the draft and should be able to step in and help immediately.
Regardless of which position the 49ers decide to address in the first round, their 10 other picks should go a long way in helping the team prepare for another Super Bowl push.