49ers' defensive draft needs

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49ers' defensive draft needs

With the 49ers able to bring back nearly their entire defense from a year ago, there figure to be no starting positions up for grabs this season.Still, the 49ers do have some depth concerns on defense that the organization will seek to address throughout the draft, which runs April 26, 27 and 28:Defensive line
Who's here: LE Ray McDonald, NT Isaac Sopoaga, RE Justin Smith, Ricky Jean Francois, Demarcus Dobbs, Will Tukuafu, Ian Williams.
Draft needs: Smith played 91 percent of the 49ers' defensive snaps, while McDonald was on the field 83.5 percent of the time. Jean Francois is the only backup lineman who saw significant action behind Sopoaga. With more quality depth, the 49ers would be able to create a regular rotation with their defensive front and keep Smith and McDonald fresh. The 49ers will be on the lookout for quality depth and potential future starters on the defensive line from the first round on.Linebackers
Who's here: OLB Ahmad Brooks, ILB Patrick Willis, ILB NaVorro Bowman, OLB Aldon Smith, OLB Parys Haralson, ILB Larry Grant, ILB Tavares Gooden, ILB Michael Wilhoite.
Draft needs: The 49ers carried only three outside linebackers on their 53-man roster last season. The lucked out a year ago. Depth was not needed a year ago, as everyone remained healthy. They would like to add an insurance policy at outside linebacker. Not a lot of help is needed at inside linebacker with Grant's return. He did not get an offer as a restricted free agent to start elsewhere, so he is back with the 49ers as their top inside linebacker backup for another season. But the 49ers will likely keep their eyes peeled for a player who also has special-teams value in the mid to late rounds.

Defensive backs
Who's here: CB Carlos Rogers, CB Tarell Brown, S Dashon Goldson, S Donte Whitner, CB Chris Culliver, CB Tramaine Brock, S C.J. Spillman, CB Perrish Cox, CB Curtis Holcomb, CB Cory Nelms, S Mark LeGree.
Draft needs: With the departures of reserve safeties Reggie Smith and Madieu Williams, the 49ers must add a young player to compete with Spillman for the top backup spot behind starters Goldson and Whitner. Also, the 49ers would like to create more competition for the cornerback jobs. The 49ers kept five cornerbacks last season. Shawntae Spencer was released, so there is an open spot for a newcomer to compete with Brock, Cox and Holcomb for roles behind Rogers, Brown and Culliver. And if the 49ers take a cornerback with the No. 30 overall pick not an unlikely scenario -- suddenly there becomes more competition for the top three spots, too.Specialists
Who's here: K David Akers, P Andy Lee, LS Brian Jennings, LS Ryan Pontbriand, LS Kyle Nelson.
Draft needs: Akers, Lee and Jennings all deservedly made the NFC Pro Bowl team last season. There's no reason to waste a draft pick on any of those positions. Where the 49ers could use some help is in the return game. They need another reliable decision-maker for punt returns behind Ted Ginn, so the 49ers could add a player who has return skills at some point in the middle of the draft.Projected starters in italics

49ers release Coffee after reinstating RB off retired list

49ers release Coffee after reinstating RB off retired list

Running back Glen Coffee, who walked away from the 49ers during training camp before his second NFL season, was reinstated Friday off the reserve-retired list.

As part of the same transaction wire released by the NFL office, the 49ers released Coffee, making him a free agent.

After seven seasons away from the game, Coffee is attempting a comeback, his agent told on Saturday.

“I can tell you, he’s in great shape,” agent Ray Oubre said. “The man doesn’t have a six-pack, he’s got a 12-pack. He’s been waiting for the right time to hopefully get a workout with someone and show what he can do.

“He had a calling, and right now he feels like it’s his time to show what he can do. He explained to me, ‘I can do things now that I couldn’t do when I was initially with the 49ers.’ That’s the kind of shape he’s in.”

Coffee, who turns 30 on May 1, was a third-round draft pick (No. 74 overall) of the 49ers in 2009. He was the sixth running back selected in that year's draft. Coffee appeared in 14 games as a rookie and carried 83 times for 226 yards and one touchdown. He also caught 11 passes for 78 yards.

During training camp the next year as his teammates were exiting the locker room for the practice field in August 2010, Coffee cut the tape from his shoes and left the team's Santa Clara practice facility. He later informed then-coach Mike Singletary of his decision to stop playing football. Coffee said he believed God had a bigger plan for him.

Coffee was a specialist in the Sixth Battalion of the Army Rangers after enlisting in 2013. He is no longer active, Oubre said.

“He’s been training several months,” Oubre said. “The rigors of the Army Rangers, he was already in shape. He’s taking it to another level now. He’s been training for more than four months.

“He feels like he served and now the time is right. He’s in a good place. He understands, you can’t play football forever and you can’t do any one thing forever. He’s in a place right now that he wants to use his God-given ability as a football player.”

Coffee turned pro after his junior season at Alabama. In his final college season, Coffee rushed for 1,383 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Coffee has been training under Johnny Jackson at JDPI Sports Performance in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Oubre said he will be in contact with all 32 NFL teams to see if there’s any interest in bringing in Coffee for workouts. He might also hold an open workout for any interested teams.

Sponsored by Harbaugh, Kap named one of Top 100 most influential people

Sponsored by Harbaugh, Kap named one of Top 100 most influential people

Former 49ers quarterback and current free agent Colin Kaepernick has been named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People on Thursday. 

Each person named to the list is represented by a sponsor who then writes on why they are worthy of the honor. For Kaepernick, his former coach Jim Harbaugh wrote on him. 

Harbaugh coached Kaepernick for four seasons from 2011-2014. The two reached the Super Bowl together in the 2012 season. 

Other sports figures named to the list include Conor McGregor, Theo Epstein, LeBron James, Tom Brady, Simone Biles, and Neymar.

Kaepernick made national headlines this past season for his decision to first sit and then kneel during the national anthem as a fight against social injustices. 

Below is what Harbaugh wrote on Kaepernick's influence: 

Colin Kaepernick was alone in his early protests last year when he boldly and courageously confronted perceived inequalities in our social-justice system by refusing to stand for the national anthem. At times in our nation's history, we have been all too quick to judge and oppose our fellow Americans for exercising their First Amendment right to address things they believe unjust.

Rather than besmirch their character, we must celebrate their act. For we cannot pioneer and invent if we are fearful of deviating from the norm, damaging our public perception or—most important—harming our own personal interests.

I thank Colin for all he has contributed to the game of football as an outstanding player and trusted teammate. I also applaud Colin for the courage he has demonstrated in exercising his guaranteed right of free speech. His willingness to take a position at personal cost is now part of our American story.

How lucky for us all and for our country to have among our citizens someone as remarkable as Colin Kaepernick.