Outside linebacker moves up list of 49ers' draft needs

Outside linebacker moves up list of 49ers' draft needs
April 16, 2014, 8:15 am
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Dee Ford, who was Corey Lemonier's teammate at Auburn, recorded 10.5 sacks last year. (USASTI)

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No charges have yet been presented to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office for filing consideration, but Aldon Smith’s latest legal situation is certain to impact the 49ers’ draft.

Smith, who faces three felony charges of possessing illegal assault rifles and a misdemeanor DUI, was arrested Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport for making a false report of a bomb threat.

Now, with Smith’s 49ers future in serious question, outside linebacker ranks among cornerback and wide receiver as the organization’s top three needs.

[RELATED: Aldon Smith's 49ers career in jeopardy]

If the 49ers invest their first pick in an outside linebacker, Auburn’s Dee Ford (6 foot 2, 252 pounds) is the 49ers’ best option, one NFL scout told CSNBayArea.com. Ford recorded 10.5 sacks last season.

The 49ers selected another Auburn product, Corey Lemonier, in the third round of last year’s draft. Lemonier played 276 snaps last season, mostly as a defensive end in pass-rush situations while Smith was on a five-game leave of absence. Lemonier recorded one sack.

In the second and third rounds, the 49ers could look at Kyle Van Noy (6-3 1/8, 243) of Brigham Young, Scott Crichton (6-2 7/8, 273) of Oregon State and Marcus Smith (6-3 3/8, 251) of Louisville. Smith recorded 14.5 sacks last season.

The 49ers are expected to visit with Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence, who recorded 20 sacks in the past two seasons, according to the Sacramento Bee. Lawrence (6-2 7/8, 251) was suspended three times in the last two seasons for violating team rules. It is common for teams to spend more time with players viewed as potential character risks.

“I think I've matured,” Lawrence said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “Right now, I feel that really I've grown up a lot on and off the field. It's really not a problem. I feel like I became a better man, not just for myself but for others.”