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49ers 2014 Draft Forecast: Safety

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The 49ers addressed the loss of Donte Whitner in free agency when signing Antoine Bethea to a four-year contract on the first day. Bethea was the starting S for the Indianapolis Colts for eight seasons and should be the strong safety.

Last year, the 49ers traded up 13 spots to draft Eric Reid in the first-round and it paid off immediately. Throughout his rookie season, he earned the starting FS job and didn't allow a touchdown or large reception until Week 16. Reid also didn't commit a single penalty in 19 games, including three in the postseason.

Other safeties on the depth chart include special teamers Craig Dahl, Bubba Ventrone and C.J. Spillman. The 49ers also signed D.J. Campbell to a future contract last January.

While the need for safety is no longer high, there can always be depth or someone who can be found on special teams if needed. They will not need to draft a safety like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor, who will be taken in the first round.

FS Marqueston Huff (Wyoming) 5-11, 196 pounds: Huff has speed to be a gunner, but also versatility to play any position in the secondary. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio would enjoy his ability to be plugged in anywhere if needed on defense. Huff is projected to be a mid-round draft pick.

SS Vinnie Sunseri (Alabama) 5-11, 210 pounds: Sunseri suffered a torn ACL last October, but is a safety who is capable of tackling anywhere on the field. If drafted, he would compete for a spot on the kickoff and punt return coverage units. Sunseri is projected to be a late-round pick or undrafted free agent.

FS Lonnie Ballentine (Memphis) 6-3, 219 pounds: Ballentine has the size and speed of what Trent Baalke would want in a safety. He has exceptional speed, but is not the greatest at tackling or in coverage. If the 49ers wanted a player with all the physical tools, Ballentine would fit the bill and could be a special teams player. Ballentine is projected to be a late round pick.

FS Eric Pinkins (San Diego St.) 6-3, 220 pounds: Pinkins doesn't have the most experience as a starting safety, but he had an incredible pro day with a 4.44 second 40-yard dash and decent vertical leap numbers. He would fit the category of a height-weight-speed person where the 49ers believe they can coach him up. Pinkins is projected to be an undrafted free agent.

SS Deron Furr (Fort Valley St.) 6-3, 232 pounds: Furr would be a competitor for special teams with his hard hitting abilities. He is considered to be a tweener who could also play linebacker similar to Nick Moody switched positions from safety to LB in college at Florida State. With the size and versatility, Trent Baalke could be intrigued to take him in the seventh-round or sign him if undrafted.

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49ers 2014 Draft Picks:

1. First round: Own pick, No. 30 overall
2. Second round: Kansas City Chiefs pick acquired for Alex Smith, No. 56 overall
3. Second round: Own pick, No. 61 overall
4. Third round: Titans pick acquired for a second round pick in a 2013 draft day trade, No. 77 overall
5. Third round: Own pick, No. 94 overall
6. Third round: Compensatory, No. 100 overall
7. Fourth round: Own pick, No. 129 overall
8. Fifth round: Own pick, No. 170 overall
9. Seventh round: Saints pick acquired for Parys Haralson, No. 242 overall
10. Seventh round: Panthers pick acquired for Colin Jones in 2012, No. 243 overall
11. Seventh round: Own pick, No. 245 overall

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49ers Draft Forecast Series: Running Back, Tight End, Defensive Line, Quarterback

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