SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- This week, ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper looked at possible first-round pick fits for the San Francisco 49ers as we take an early look at the 2014 NFL draft.
In my contribution to the piece, I identified receiver as the team’s greatest need. The 49ers are young and loaded with talent. They won’t have a ton of needs, but areas that could use improving, in addition to receiver, include the defensive line and potentially cornerback.
The 49ers could and should consider making a big move up in the draft. The 49ers will have a surplus of picks to combine with their lack of needs. They are due to have 13-14 picks in next May’s draft.
Adding an impact player with a move up may be the way the 49ers think. They aren’t afraid to trade up for the right player. This year, they moved from No. 31 to No. 18 to take LSU safety Eric Reid. The move has paid off so far.
While the draft process is in the infant stages, let’s take a look at some of the early candidates who could be drafted in the first half of the first round who could intrigue the 49ers. Remember, this list is subject to dramatically change. In alphabetical order:
UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr: A run at Barr would only be possible if the 49ers decide they want to move away from Aldon Smith. Not sure they are ready to do that.
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney: It would cost a ton to get Clowney, but how good would he look in that defense?
Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu: The 49ers could be in the market for a corner because they have so many potential free agents. Florida’s Loucheiz Purifoy could be a possibility.
Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins: This is the 49ers’ greatest need. A dynamic receiver would change this offense. USC’s Marqise Lee could be a trade-up option as well.