After a tumultuous off-season that begin with the departure of Jim Harbaugh and most key members of the 49ers training staff, followed by the unexpected loss of key players, the 49ers will need to reload if they want to make a Super Bowl run.
The 49ers had 21 players that became free agents during the offseason. Amongst these players is their running Frank Gore, wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Brandon Lloyd, Guard Luke Lupati, and cornerbacks Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox.
In addition to these losses from free-agency, the 49ers had to deal with the unexpected early retirements of both linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland. Willis has been one of the anchors and the heart and soul of the 49ers vaunted defense for many years.
There is also the possibility of ‘Cowboy’ Justin Smith retiring. Smith will be making an announcement later this month to state his decision of whether to play another year in the NFL or ride off into retirement sunset.
As can be seen, substantial holes need to be filled before the start of the 2015 season. The 49ers worked towards filling these holes by picking up two key free agents during the off-season. The 49ers addressed a weak receiving corps by signing Baltimore Ravens’ Torry Smith.
Then the 49ers picked up Arizona Cardinals’ star DL Darnell Dockett.
Still the 49ers still have glaring needs—besides their snazzy new black alternate uniforms–where many of them have been addressed during the 2015 NFL Draft. Headed into the draft, 49ers GM Trent Baalke said that he wanted to make the 49ers ‘Bigger & Faster’.
The first two days of the draft were spent on beefing up the 49ers vintage defense whose mystique was deflated during the 2014 season. Then during the last day of the draft, the 49ers added a punter and offensive picks.
Were the 49ers able to get ‘Bigger & Faster’? Well in the first round the 49ers drafted Arik Armstead from Oregon. He is a 6-7, 290 pound chiseled defensive end. He immediately brings a mix of size and athleticism to the 49ers defensive line.
In the second round the 49ers drafted Stanford SS Jaquiski Tartt. This 6-1, 222-pound strong safety is in the mold of Dante Whitner and should be laying opposing wide receivers out in no time.
The 49ers added Virginia outside linebacker Eli Harold in the 3rd round. The 49ers hope that this 6-3, 247-pound edge rusher can provide immediate quality pass rushing off of the edge. Harold has very big shoes to fill and he needs to do it immediately.
The 49ers then added Oklahoma tight end Blake Bell, a converted quarterback who can be the eventual replacement for Vernon Davis. Mike Davis a running back out of South Carolina that is in the mold of Frank Gore, and Georgia Tech WR DeAndre Smelter, a 6’3 222-pound wideout making him the largest on the 49ers roster.
The 49ers then added size to their offensive line with 7th round pick Trenton Brown a 6-8, 355-pound guard from Florida.
The 49ers have addressed some of their key issues thus far during the offseason. There is a supplemental draft approaching soon, and the 49ers should try to fill the rest of their holes through the supplemental draft.
The 49ers are still loaded with talent. Can new Head Coach Jim Tomsula take the 49ers to the Super Bowl?
That remains to be seen. But by the continuing to add young talent and getting ‘Bigger & Stronger’ Tomsula is armed with the talent to get there.