First, there’s free agency. Then, more than seven weeks later, there’s the NFL draft.
Needs for all NFL teams could change a lot between now and then. But what the kind of players the 49ers will seek with general manager Trent Baalke now clearly at the top of the organization’s football operations should remain the same.
“I would imagine Trent feels pretty strongly about who they are philosophically as an organization, big, strong, physical team, and I would be really surprised if they deviated from the way they've approached things in the past,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said Monday in a conference call with reporters.
Wide receiver Michael Crabree and left guard Mike Iupati are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents. How the 49ers address those positions in free agency will factor into how the team views their needs in the draft.
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Also, the 49ers have some work to do at cornerback, where starters Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox are scheduled for free agency.
“So when you talk about wide receiver to me, who knows what's going to happen with Crabtree,” Mayock said. “Also at corner, I mean I think Cox and Chris Culliver have both developed into fairly good corners, but they're both also free agents, so I'm not sure. Obviously, depending on free agency we'll answer some questions both at wide receiver and corner for San Francisco, so it's hard to kind of go out there and tell you what they're going to do.
“Iupati is also a free agent, so that offensive line that's been so good for so long is starting to get older now, and you know he's going to want to replenish with big, physical players. So it's at this point because of their questions in free agency, especially corner, left guard and wide receiver, it's really hard to say what they'd attack in the draft.”