First round complete: Re-ranking 49ers' top 2017 draft needs

First round complete: Re-ranking 49ers' top 2017 draft needs

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers begin Day 2 of the NFL Draft without a second-round draft pick.

The team’s second-round selection turned into a first-rounder late Thursday evening.

General manager John Lynch packaged the 49ers’ second-round pick at No. 34 and a fourth-round pick acquired earlier in the day to move up to No. 31 for Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster.

The 49ers are scheduled to have back-to-back picks early in the third round at Nos. 66 and 67 on Friday.

Here’s a look at the 49ers remaining top needs:

Defensive back
During the 49ers’ voluntary minicamp, Jimmie Ward was at free safety with Eric Reid at strong safety. Jaquiski Tartt is next in line.

The 49ers parted ways with a projected starting conerback Tramaine Brock after his arrest for an alleged domestic incident. The 49ers’ first-team cornerbacks are currently Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson. Will Redmond and K’Waun Williams worked in at nickel back.

Ward’s versatility makes it possible the 49ers could go with either a cornerback or safety. There is some young talent already on the roster at cornerback, but most of it is completely unproven at this level. All things being equal, it would seem the 49ers’ next pick would be a defensive back.

Quarterback
Write it in ink: Brian Hoyer will be the 49ers’ starting quarterback in 2017.

The 49ers have two quarterbacks under contract – Hoyer and Matt Barkley – and they are certain to add a quarterback at some point. But regardless of whom they add at this point, Hoyer will be the starter. The top quarterbacks still available are Davis Webb (Cal) and DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame).

Two players to watch are Nathan Peterman (Pittsburgh) and Brad Kaaya (Miami), who come from pro-style offenses. Both could still be available when the 49ers go on the clock in the third round.

Running back
Oft-injured Carlos Hyde is entering the final year of his contract, and he has something to prove to the new coaching staff. Veteran Tim Hightower is the only other proven NFL back on the roster.

There will be plenty of solid options at running back in the final two days of the draft.

Coach Kyle Shanahan has a knack for identifying unique traits in running backs and scheming his offense to put those players in advantageous spots to make plays on third downs.

Supply is greater than demand at running back in the draft, so Shanahan is certain to identify someone capable of making an impact in a specific role.

Wide receiver
The 49ers parted ways with Torrey Smith and Quinton Patton, while adding Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson. Big-bodied receiver Eric Rogers, who dominated in the CFL, is still rehabbing from a torn ACL sustained last summer.

The 49ers have room on their roster to develop a young receiver who can learn the ins and outs of the professional game from Garçon. It’s part of the reason the 49ers made him their most-lucrative free-agent acquisition.

Edge rusher
Sure, the 49ers already selected a defensive lineman. And while the 49ers believe Solomon Thomas can play the pass-rusher spot in the team’s new defense, his best attribute is his versatility.

Teams can never have too many pure pass-rushers, and the 49ers still have a shortage in that area. They can still use an edge rusher to compete with and push Arik Armstead, Aaron Lynch and Ahmad Brooks to fight in order to hold onto their jobs.

Kicker
The 49ers signed veteran Robbie Gould in the offseason and awarded him a $500,000 signing bonus. Gould, 35, was targeted to replace ultra-reliable Phil Dawson. Gould signed with the Giants in October of last year. He made all 10 field-goal attempts but missed three of his 23 extra-point tries.

It’s not a huge priority, of course, but it remains possible the 49ers add a kicker on Day 3. They could draft someone, such as Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez, or bring Stanford’s Conrad Ukropina to camp to compete as an undrafted rookie.

49ERS 2017 DRAFT PICKS
1. First round, No. 2: DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford
2. First round, No. 31: LB Reuben Foster, Alabama

3. Third round: No. 66 overall
4. Third round: No. 67 overall (from Chicago for No. 2 pick)
5. Fourth round: No. 109 overall
6. Fourth round: No. 143 overall (compensatory)
7. Fifth round: No. 146 overall
8. Fifth round: No. 161 (from Washington in 2015 trade for TE Derek Carrier)
9. Sixth round: No. 198 overall (from Baltimore in trade with C Jeremy Zuttah for No. 186)
10. Sixth round: No. 202 overall (pick acquired from Denver in 2015 trade for TE Vernon Davis)
11. Seventh round: No. 219 overall (pick acquired from Cleveland in 2015 trade for Andy Lee)

Cosell: Pittsburgh quarterback Peterman fits 49ers' scheme

Cosell: Pittsburgh quarterback Peterman fits 49ers' scheme

The 49ers have been transparent in their study of five quarterbacks who are generally regarded at the top of this year’s draft class.

The team has acknowledged meeting and attended workouts of Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer, Patrick Mahomes and Davis Webb.

The 49ers are fully expected to draft a quarterback next week. But that list is not limited to just the five quarterbacks who are expected to be chosen within the first two rounds.

But there are certainly more than just those five options for the 49ers. In explaining recently why the 49ers have shown no interest in re-signing Colin Kaepernick, coach Kyle Shanahan explained he prefers quarterbacks of similar styles who fit his offensive system.

“If you have your pick of the best world, you’d like those guys to be somewhat similar,” Shanahan said, “not just because that’s how you want the quarterbacks, just because of the work you’re doing for the rest of the guys on the roster.”

The best fit for Shanahan’s offense after the projected first wave of quarterbacks is Pittsburgh’s Nathan Peterman, according to one draft expert. The 49ers have kept their interest in Peterman lowkey. The club conducted a formal interview with Peterman at the NFL scouting combine, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area.

“He can run play-action. He’s played under center. He looks like an NFL quarterback,” NFL analyst and senior producer of NFL Films Greg Cosell said of Peterman. “Some people are going to say that his arm is not strong enough, and that’s valid. It may not be. That’s a decision everybody will make on their own. Some guys might say it’s strong enough. Others might say it’s below the level at which you can be a quality starter. That’ll be in the eye of the beholder.”

Peterman (6 foot 2 ½, 226 pounds) started his final two seasons at Pittsburgh after transferring from Tennessee. During his final two college seasons while running a pro-style offense, Peterman completed 378 of 619 pass attempts (61.1 percent) for 5,142 yards with 47 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Cosell compared Peterman to Hoyer, whom he noted, “doesn’t have a gun” for a throwing arm. Hoyer is expected to be the 49ers’ starting quarterback in 2017. Hoyer and Matt Barkley are the only quarterbacks on the 49ers' roster.

“Kyle’s offense starts with the quarterback under center and it’s very detailed and precise and there are very few guys in college football who come from those kinds of offenses,” Cosell said.

Cosell included Miami’s Brad Kaaya as a player with significant experience in a system that translates closely to the NFL.

“They played in pro offenses, so they have some conceptual foundation whereas the other guys have no clue,” Cosell said.

“Theoretically, Brad Kaaya fits. I don’t particularly like the player on tape, but he fits. I think he needs an awful lot of work. That comes down to what a coach feels about the kind of work he needs.”

Kaaya (6-4, 214) completed 60.6 percent of his attempts for 9,968 yards in his three-year career. He threw 69 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.