<
>

San Francisco 49ers will pick No. 7 in 2016 NFL draft

Here’s a quick look at the top three positional needs for the 49ers:

  1. Quarterback: It appears Colin Kaepernick is done in Santa Clara, and Blaine Gabbert deserves at least consideration to be next year's starter and serve as the bridge to the next franchise quarterback. But so much depends on who the next coach is and what style of offense he prefers. Cal’s Jared Goff sitting behind Gabbert for a year or two makes sense, but will Goff still be there at No. 7? Would general manager Trent Baalke pull the trigger on a quarterback that early?

  2. Pass-rushing linebacker: Ahmad Brooks and Aaron Lynch tied for the team lead with 6.5 sacks apiece, and even though Brooks still has two years remaining on his contract, it is easy to see the 49ers moving on from him. Brooks' penalties and off-the-field issues were easier to accept with no depth behind him, especially after Aldon Smith was cut. But if an elite pass-rusher can be found in the draft, Brooks could be expendable.

  3. Offensive lineman: Baalke drafts O-linemen because “that’s what Trent does,” one 49ers employee said. He’s got a bunch on the roster, but the only young guy who truly stepped up this season was seventh-rounder Trent Brown, and that came in the final few games. San Francisco quarterbacks were sacked 53 times, so protection is an issue -- especially with Joe Staley turning 32 before next season.