It's widely expected that the 49ers trade up in the 2014 NFL Draft for the first round. Sitting at No. 30 overall, the 49ers have 11 draft picks in total and can afford to move up.
While there are several targets whom the 49ers have on their minds, Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller is exactly what the 49ers will need for the present and future. The team has had a question mark at WR and CB for the past few months, but the answers to all of this will be coming in the next 72 hours.
Fuller is considered to be one of the top CBs in the class along with Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State), Bradley Roby (Ohio State) and Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State). Gilbert has the highest upside based on measurements and combine results, but Fuller is the most ready of the bunch.
He didn't light up the combine, but his in-game speed is faster than what his timed speed would indicate. What makes him standout is his vertical leaping ability and athleticism to jump balls. Fuller's size of 6-0 and 190 pounds is reasonable, but he will need to hit the weight room to compete at the NFL level.
General Manager Trent Baalke has always put an emphasis on versatility among his draft picks and Fuller can bring that to the table. The Virginia Tech CB would immediately compete for a nickel cornerback spot and could potentially beat out his competition for the No.2 position behind Tramaine Brock.
He can also contribute right away on special teams as both a gunner and on kickoffs. With his knowledge of both zone and man coverage, Fuller should be able to adapt to Vic Fangio's style of defense. Baalke wants a person who has a "Swiss Army Knife" artillery of traits to be utilized all over the football field.
Even though the 49ers could take a WR, which is also a position of need, the receiver class in the 2014 NFL Draft is deep enough for the team to wait another round. The need for cornerback is more vital for the long-term with Chris Culliver being the only CB with a significant amount of experience outside of Brock.
There is a strong chance that all four cornerbacks listed will be gone when the first round ends, making any CB taken later as part of a lower tier. Fuller is projected to be a mid-first round draft pick, which would be a reasonable price to pay.
In 2013, the 49ers gave up an extra third-round pick to move up 13 spots in order to select starting FS Eric Reid. With this year's draft being more talented than last season, the price will be higher. For the 49ers to pull this off, they should trade one of their second-round picks as well as their first rounder (30th) to get in the middle of the first round.
Fuller's talent for the secondary is too intriguing to pass up with his ability to make instant impact on the 49ers. His versatility is something that Baalke can't let slip away.