With the 2013 NFL Draft being 69 days away, it is never too early to start looking ahead at what the team needs to do. Here are some needs for the 49ers heading into the draft:
Defensive Line: Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean Francois are set to be free agents and it is unlikely both of them will be retained. That leaves Ian Williams as the team's only nose tackle on the roster. Justin Smith will be entering his contract year at age 34, so it will be important for the team to draft depth. When Smith went down with an injury, the defensive line and linebackers proved to be ineffective.
Placekicker: With David Akers is due $3 million, giving the team three million reasons to release him. With the struggles he had in 2012, expect a new kicker to come in via free agency or the draft
Wide Receiver: Randy Moss and Ted Ginn are free agents while Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams are both coming back from torn ACL injuries. First-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins will most likely be playing alongside Michael Crabtree to start 2013. With Manningham and Williams coming off injuries, it is possible the 49ers draft a long-term project in the draft to fill the wide receiver depth.
Tight End: This is only a need if Delanie Walker leaves in free agency. Two tight ends are required for the 49ers' run-first offense. The team would draft a third tight end to go with Garrett Celek and Vernon Davis.
Offensive Tackle: The 49ers are fine at the interior of the offensive line, but if Anthony Davis or Joe Staley went down, Alex Boone would be moved to the outside with Daniel Kilgore most likely to play as a guard. There can never be enough offensive line depth.
Backup Quarterback: With Alex Smith set to leave, the 49ers only have Scott Tolzien as the only backup quarterback on the roster behind Colin Kaepernick. They can easily draft a QB this year in order to promote competition with Tolzien.
Safety: Dashon Goldson is expected to return, but there is uncertainty for the backups. Darcel McBath might not return and Trenton Robinson is still a project.