NFC West: David Fales

49ers' draft primer

May, 6, 2014
May 6
With the NFL draft two days away, let's look at some questions surrounding the San Francisco 49ers:

Will it be easy to trade up? Reports indicate the 49ers are expected to be one of the most aggressive teams attempting to move up. The 49ers have the No. 30 overall pick and six in the first 100. They will likely start considering a trade once the draft gets into the No. 12-14 range and then they work on it until it works.

Is this the year Harbaugh drafts a Stanford player? This is the fourth draft for coach Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco since he was hired away from Stanford. The 49ers have yet to draft a player from Stanford with Harbaugh. Eleven Stanford players have been drafted in the past three years. Perhaps this year -- the last Cardinal class Harbaugh coached -- will be the year. Stanford has several draft prospects, and perhaps players' like Shayne Skov, Trent Murphy, Ed Reynolds or Ben Gardner will end the drought.

Will the drafting injured player trend continue? Last year, the 49ers took advantage of a surplus of picks and few needs by taking injured players Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore. The two were essentially redshirted and are now expected to play. Again, the 49ers have a lot of picks and few needs. Perhaps injured players such as Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley, Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin and Clemson guard Brandon Thomas could attract the 49ers.

Will the quarterback whisperer get a new charge? Harbaugh has made it clear in his three NFL seasons that he loves working with young quarterbacks. The 49ers are candidates to draft a quarterback in the mid-round as they try to develop a backup for Colin Kaepernick. Harbaugh has studied several quarterbacks this spring. Among the candidates are Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas, San Jose State's David Fales and Clemson's Tajh Boyd.

How many picks are enough? I wouldn't be shocked if the 49ers trade up a few times. This is a loaded roster. There aren't that many -- maybe five to seven -- rookies who will make this 53-man roster. So, expect the 49ers to lean toward quality over quantity.

Will they pick a new return man? Incumbent returner LaMichael James is working out on his own and is open to a trade. Even if James isn't dealt this week, the 49ers may look to replace him. I wouldn't be shocked if one of the receivers and/or cornerbacks the 49ers look at early doubles as a returner.

Where does a pass-rusher fit? Aldon Smith's future is clouded by legal issues. The 49ers might decide to try to find a pass-rusher. If so, they may have to do it fairly early. ESPN draft expert Todd McShay thinks the run on impact pass-rushers may be over in the first 50 picks.
Thanks to Jacksonville Jaguars NFL nation reporter Michael DiRocco, I have some notes to pass along from Jim Harbaugh’s breakfast media session.

The San Francisco 49ers considered adding a veteran receiver in free agency, and they likely will use an early round pick at the position. The 49ers ran the fewest three-receiver sets in the NFL in 2013. It is clear Harbaugh is looking to change that.

“Yeah. No. 3 receiver, a third guy that can get open, make plays, another option for the quarterback to go to,” Harbaugh said. “A chance to attack areas of the field. A playmaker. That’s what we’re looking for.”

Harbaugh will continue to look at rookie quarterbacks. He said he will work out Derek Carr of Fresno State and David Fales of San Jose State soon. Carr could be a first-round pick, which would likely take the 49ers out of consideration. Fales could be a mid-to-late-round pick. The 49ers will likely add a quarterback in the draft. Harbaugh has been looking at other quarterbacks this spring.

Harbaugh said trade addition Jonathan Martin could be used some at guard. Martin, a tackle, has said he’s never played guard, but he is willing to try. Martin will be the team’s swing tackle. However, in 2015, the team might be looking for a new guard if Mike Iupati leaves in free agency. So Martin could be a possibility there.

Harbaugh said he believes running back Frank Gore has three more good seasons in him. Gore, who will be 31 in May (ancient in running backs years) had another outstanding season in 2013. He ran for 1,128 yards.

Harbaugh repeated that he is happy in San Francisco.

“Yeah, I mean I love coaching this team,” Harbaugh said. “I love the players, I love the coaches and the organization they serve, and want to be here for a very long time.”

Harbaugh has two more seasons on his contract. Ownership has made it known it would like to extend his deal soon.
The San Francisco 49ers will likely consider adding a quarterback in the mid rounds of the draft.

The team would like to develop a backup to young star Colin Kaepernick. His 2013 backup, veteran Colt McCoy, is a free agent. The team also has McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who could compete for the job.

Still, this is a deep draft, and the 49ers have a surplus of picks. And coach Jim Harbaugh is a huge fan of young quarterbacks. The 49ers looked at several last season. Here is a look at some of the quarterbacks who could attract interest in the mid-rounds:

Tajh Boyd, Clemson: Once considered a top-10 pick, Boyd could be tempting if he is available late in the third round.

David Fales, San Jose State: The local kid has the look of becoming a competent backup.

Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois: He dominated at a low level. Could be worth a shot.

AJ McCarron, Alabama: He’s smart and a winner. Those are two wonderful quarterback traits.

Aaron Murray, Georgia: coming of an injury. Could be an interesting guy to stash.

Logan Thomas, Virginal Tech: He has all the tools. Could be worth developing.