Contra Costa Times

49ers position-by-position needs
 
 
April 15, 2001
 
Quarterback

WHO'S HERE: JEFF GARCIA, Tim Rattay, Gio Carmazzi
DRAFT OUTLOOK: Garcia is coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons, and he's the starter at least through 2004, when his contract can be voided. Rattay returns as the top backup, and Carmazzi is still recovering from 2001 shoulder surgery.
DRAFT PRIORITY: 1

Running back

WHO'S HERE: GARRISON HEARST, Kevan Barlow, Paul Smith, Jonas Lewis
DRAFT OUTLOOK: Hearst re-signed last month to the tune of six years, $20 million. That means the promising Barlow (third-round pick in 2001) may have to wait it out as a backup a couple more seasons. Barlow, Smith and Lewis all are young, so don't expect another newcomer, at least not until Sunday's later rounds.
DRAFT PRIORITY: 3

Fullback

WHO'S HERE: FRED BEASLEY, Terry Jackson
DRAFT OUTLOOK: Rather than let Beasley and Jackson leave via free agency, the club brought back both to secure the fullback role for another few years.
DRAFT PRIORITY: 2

Tight end

WHO'S HERE: ERIC JOHNSON, Justin Swift, Brian Jennings
DRAFT OUTLOOK: The 49ers -- especially Bill Walsh -- struck gold by drafting Johnson in the seventh round last year, and he appears entrenched as the starter for years to come. This draft is filled with quality tight ends, but so are the 49ers.
DRAFT PRIORITY: 3

Wide receiver

WHO'S HERE: TERRELL OWENS, J.J. STOKES, Tai Streets, Cedrick Wilson, Vinny Sutherland
DRAFT OUTLOOK: Finding a new receiver to complement Owens seems important. Stokes may be on the outs if he doesn't rework his high-priced contract. Streets looked slower last year after breaking his leg in 2000. General manager Terry Donahue last week downplayed the need for replacing Sutherland as a return specialist.
DRAFT PRIORITY: 9

Offensive tackle

WHO'S HERE: DERRICK DEESE, SCOTT GRAGG, Matt Willig, Dave Costa
DRAFT OUTLOOK: It's about time the 49ers look into future replacements for Deese, Gragg and Willig, who've played a combined 27 seasons. Arizona State's Levi Jones and Boston College's Marc Colombo came in for pre-draft visits.
DRAFT PRIORITY: 7

Center/guard

WHO'S HERE: C JEREMY NEWBERRY, G DAVE FIORE, G RON STONE, G Chad Ward, G Ray Brown, G/C Milford Stephenson
DRAFT OUTLOOK: Newberry signed a six-year deal last month to alleviate the 49ers' need for a center. The "changing of the guard" took place Friday when the 49ers brought in Stone to replace Brown, who will be released in June. Ward intrigues the 49ers brass, but finding other backups is key.
DRAFT PRIORITY: 5

Place-kicker

WHO'S HERE: JOSE CORTEZ
DRAFT OUTLOOK: Cortez's rookie season was filled with highs (two game-winning field goals, 42-of-42 on point-after kicks) and lows (five blocks). His biggest competition likely won't come from the draft but from Jamie Rheem, whom he beat out in training camp after Rheem got injured.
DRAFT PRIORITY: 2

Defensive tackle

WHO'S HERE: BRYANT YOUNG, DANA STUBBLEFIELD, John Schlecht, Reggie McGrew
DRAFT OUTLOOK: The 49ers definitely need to add depth here. McGrew, exposed in February's expansion draft, may be a June salary-cap casualty. Michigan State's John Shaw recently visited the 49ers facility.
DRAFT PRIORITY: 8

Defensive end

WHO'S HERE: ANDRE CARTER, JOHN ENGELBERGER, Sean Moran, Chike Okeafor, Bobby Setzer
DRAFT OUTLOOK: After stockpiling ends through the draft the past few years, along with the recent signing of Moran, it's unlikely the 49ers will use a high pick at this spot. That's not to say they couldn't use more talent at end, however.
DRAFT PRIORITY: 5

Linebacker

WHO'S HERE: DEREK SMITH, JULIAN PETERSON, JEFF ULBRICH, Jamie Winborn, Quincy Stewart
DRAFT OUTLOOK: Adding backups is a must, especially at outside linebacker behind Peterson now that Terry Killens is with the Denver Broncos.
DRAFT PRIORITY: 5

Cornerback

WHO'S HERE: AHMED PLUMMER, JASON WEBSTER, Rashad Holman, Anthony Parker, Jimmy Williams
DRAFT OUTLOOK: Selecting a top-notch cornerback is a must for the 49ers to catch up with the St. Louis Rams. Florida's Lito Sheppard, Miami's Mike Rumph and USC's Chris Cash visited the 49ers facility, and the 49ers seem poised to take Rumph if Sheppard is gone by the time they draft. Long-shot idea: They trade up for Texas' Quentin Jammer or Miami's Phillip Buchanon.
DRAFT PRIORITY: 10

Safety

WHO'S HERE: ZACK BRONSON, TONY PARRISH, Ronnie Heard, John Keith, Al Blades
DRAFT OUTLOOK: Signing Parrish, who played his first four years with the Chicago Bears, eliminated the need of finding a durable strong safety. Adding depth will help the secondary, though, and Lamont Thompson -- a Washington State and El Cerrito High School product -- could fit the bill. Other prospects are Florida State's Chris Hope and Stanford's Tank Williams.
DRAFT PRIORITY: 7

Punter

WHO'S HERE: JASON BAKER
DRAFT OUTLOOK: Baker got better as his rookie year progressed, so it's doubtful the 49ers will use one of their picks on another young punter.
DRAFT PRIORITY: 2

*Starters in all CAPS

Ratings: 10 is highest priority, 1 lowest


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