The 49ers have enjoyed a great amount of success over the past couple of years. The team has done a great job of stockpiling talent and has developed a strong core of players.
Many have asked the question of whether or not the 49ers are built for the long run. I answer that question with a resounding yes.
This franchise is the rare case of where everyone is on the same page, from the front office to the players. Jed York has worked hard to get the franchise a new stadium. Trent Baalke has steadily accumulated talent over the past few drafts. Baalke has selected 36 players in the past four drafts under and 29 of them will enter the 2013 training camp as members of the 49ers’ roster.
Baalke has also done an excellent job of mixing in the right free agents. Carlos Rogers was a very solid addition in 2011. Jonathan Goodwin was also signed to add veteran leadership to the young 49er offensive line. Look for Glenn Dorsey to be a solid addition to the defensive line this year.
Jim Harbaugh has taken his place as one of the best coaches in the NFL. His coaching staff is also top tier. Each of them have done an excellent job of getting their particular positions to buy into the hard nose, blue collar philosophy that Harbaugh lives by.
Paraag Marathe has been able to negotiate deals with guys like NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Anthony Davis, Justin Smith and others. Marathe has set up deals that will allow the 49ers to keep a lot of their core players while staying under the salary cap.
The upcoming contracts of Michael Crabtree, Aldon Smith, Mike Iupatti and Colin Kaepernick will take a lot of creative negotiating but the front office is capable of getting it done. There will probably be some collateral damage when getting these contracts taken care of, but that always comes with the territory.
Fortunately, the 49ers have set themselves up well by way of the draft. Quinton Patton is a player that is similar to Crabtree. He can play the Z position and play the slot as well. Marcus Lattimore was also brought in to be a player that they can put on the shelf and be the feature back once Frank Gore finally gives way to father time. We would hate to see Gore go but unfortunately, running backs can only give so many years of service.
The roster is built in a way that there are very few wholes to fill. This has allowed the 49ers to target particular needs that have opened up due to various reasons. Take the free safety position for instance. Dashon Goldson left via free agency and is now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 49ers had an abundance of picks and used one of them to move up 13 spots to the 18th slot and select Eric Reid.
The stacked roster has let the 49ers be very creative in drafting players. Look at how they maneuvered around the draft and got players that they targeted. Six of their top eight selections had some sort of trade involved in them. They also were able to come out of the draft with additional high picks in the 2014 draft.
The one concern that I have with the 49ers is the cornerback position, specifically a nickel corner to cover slot receivers. I thought they would surely select a guy like Robert Alford or Tyrann Mathieu to sure up that spot. Carlos Rogers is currently the guy that bumps inside against three receiver sets. Perrish Cox is another option.
Chris Culliver and Terrell Brown are set to have their contracts expire in the near future. It will be difficult to get both of them signed and under the salary cap. Nnamdi Asomugha was also signed. This group will be sufficient in for the 2013 season, but I strongly believe corner will be a target position in next year’s draft. Loucheiz Purifoy from Florida and Bradley Roby from Ohio State are both good options.
The San Francisco 49ers are without a doubt built to last. They have a top notch front office, one of the best coaching staffs in the NFL and a roster that is stockpiled with talent. They will open the season in a new state of the art stadium in 2014. All things are pointing in the right direction for the 49ers.