49ers

49ers' free agency picture by position, need two days into negotiation period

49ers' free agency picture by position, need two days into negotiation period

The 49ers no longer have a need at inside linebacker after one-plus days of the NFL’s open negotiating period.

But all of the other spots where the 49ers need reinforcements remain unchanged. And, in some cases, there are not any realistic, impactful options available on the free-agent market at positions of need.

The 49ers zeroed in on free-agent linebacker Kwon Alexander on Monday and agreed to sign him to a four-year, $54 million contract to work alongside Fred Warner.

The 49ers, obviously, expect Alexander to make a full recovery from a torn ACL in his left knee to be the kind of elite playmaker he proved to be during his first three seasons with the Buccaneers, which included one trip to the Pro Bowl.

So, where does this leave the 49ers with the official beginning of the NFL free-agent signing period scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Wednesday?

Edge rusher

Connecting the dots, the most likely addition would appear to be Ziggy Ansah.

After all, 49ers vice president of player personnel Martin Mayhew was the Detroit Lions' general manager when Ansah was selected with the No. 5 overall pick of the 2013 draft. And new 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek was Ansah’s position coach for five seasons.

Ansah, who turns 30 in May, is recovering from shoulder surgery, and no agreement appears imminent. NFL Network reported that Ansah is scheduled to visit the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints for physicals. The 49ers could get involved, too, and they would have to give him a careful examination.

Veteran edge rusher Justin Houston, whom the Kansas City Chiefs released, remains available on the open market. He also would provide an upgrade for a team that featured Cassius Marsh and Ronald Blair as their top edge rushers last season.

Safety

Would the 49ers want to add Earl Thomas? The answer is yes. But do the 49ers want to extend the kind of contract that he is seeking? The answer is no.

The 49ers are hanging around, as the market for Thomas does not appear to be as robust as expected.

Landon Collins and Tyrann Mathieu agreed to terms with Washington and the Kansas City Chiefs, respectively, on deals that average a reported $14 million annually. (Collins agreed to a six-year deal, and Mathieu’s agreement is for three years.)

The Dallas Cowboys appear to be Thomas’ preferred destination, and they're also balking at the high price tag, too.

The 49ers have three safeties with starting experience: Jaquiski Tartt, Adrian Colbert and Marcell Harris. The belief is the 49ers would like to add to this position group. They remain interested in bringing back Jimmie Ward on a one-year deal. If the price is right, Thomas will be in the mix, too.

Cornerback

This is a key season for Richard Sherman, who did not look like his old self last season as he returned from a torn Achilles. But Sherman never was tested because of the 49ers' issues on the other side.

The 49ers invested third-round draft picks in back-to-back seasons on Ahkello Witherspoon and Tarvarius Moore. The 49ers selected them to be starters, sooner than later.

At this stage, each of the free-agent cornerbacks will be seeking starter’s money. There are some options that could fit the 49ers, such as Pierre Desir, Darqueze Dennard and Bradley Roby.

However, none of those players would immediately step in as starters over Witherspoon and Moore. There would have to be competition, and that would have to be reflected in the kind of contract the 49ers would be willing to offer.

Wide receiver

The 49ers did not figure to find a starting receiver in free agency. Now, if Odell Beckham were available for a reasonable price from the New York Giants, the 49ers certainly would be interested. But that's another story.

Golden Tate is the top available wide receiver. He caught 74 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns while splitting time with the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles last year. After that, there’s really nobody who stands out as a player who would walk into a starting role ahead of Kendrick Bourne and Marquise Goodwin.

Bourne, in just his second NFL season, caught 42 passes for 487 yards and four TDs to lead all 49ers wideouts. Goodwin has averaged 17.2 yards per reception in his two seasons. Ideally, the 49ers would like to use Goodwin in a more specialized role -- similar to how Kyle Shanahan deployed Taylor Gabriel during their time together in Atlanta.

The one free-agent receiver who probably fit Shanahan’s scheme better than anyone else was Adam Humphries, but the 49ers already have promising slot receivers Trent Taylor and Richie James. Humphries agreed to terms with the Tennessee Titans, and the 49ers are not believed to have been in serious pursuit.

Running back

There’s been some reports of the 49ers being in the mix for Le’Veon Bell. We’re not buying it at all. Yes, he would be a significant threat as a runner and receiver. But he refused to play for $14 million last season, so that’s an indication of what kind of money he would be seeking.

Moreover, Shanahan's teams never have invested franchise-type of money in a running back. The 49ers can be expected to add another running back to the competition at some point in the offseason. If they sign or draft a running back, that player likely would compete with Matt Breida for the right to suit up for games.

[RELATED: 49ers legend Gore heading to Bills for 15th season]

Raheem Mostert will be in uniform as the No. 3 running back for every game he’s available due to his special-teams contributions. Jerick McKinnon, whom the 49ers signed a year ago for his dual-threat ability, is on pace to assume his intended role as he rehabs from a torn ACL. Breida made the most of his opportunities last season, averaging 5.3 yards per carry in 13 starts while battling an ankle injury for most of the year.

2019 NFL Draft order: Full list of Round 1 picks, No. 1 through No. 32

2019 NFL Draft order: Full list of Round 1 picks, No. 1 through No. 32

Teams will make their first-round picks at the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tenn., and it's likely the order entering Thursday night's proceedings isn't how it will end up.

Trades always shake up the draft order, and a few teams are primed to make deals this year. The Raiders, for instance, own three first-round picks, and if they decided to package the Nos. 24 and 27 selections -- acquired in the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades, respectively -- they could move up in the order.

There also has been rumblings that the No. 1 pick, owned by the Arizona Cardinals, is up for sale. If the Cardinals decide to deal, that could change the face of this draft, beginning with the 49ers' pick at No. 2.

Until then, we only can go off how the order is now, and you can see which teams own Nos. 1 through 32 in the list below.

2019 NFL DRAFT ORDER
1. Arizona Cardinals
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. New York Jets
4. Oakland Raiders
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6. New York Giants
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
8. Detroit Lions
9. Buffalo Bills
10. Denver Broncos
11. Cincinnati Bengals
12. Green Bay Packers
13. Miami Dolphins
14. Atlanta Falcons
15. Washington Redskins
16. Carolina Panthers
17. New York Giants (from Cleveland Browns in Odell Beckham Jr. trade)
18. Minnesota Vikings
19. Tennessee Titans
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
21. Seattle Seahawks
22. Baltimore Ravens
23. Houston Texans
24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago Bears in Khalil Mack trade)
25. Philadelphia Eagles
26. Indianapolis Colts
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas Cowboys in Amari Cooper trade)
28. Los Angeles Chargers
29. Seattle Seahawks (from Kansas City Chiefs in Frank Clark trade)
30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans Saints in 2018 draft-day trade)
31. Los Angeles Rams
32. New England Patriots

NFL draft tracker 2019: First-round pick, trade updates as they happen

NFL draft tracker 2019: First-round pick, trade updates as they happen

The 2019 NFL Draft starts Thursday night in Nashville, Tenn., and the Bay Area's two teams should be in the center of the action.

The 49ers own the No. 2 overall pick, and the Raiders have three selections -- Nos. 4, 24 and 27 -- meaning they have many options that could decide where the top prospects fall.

The 49ers seem set on Ohio State's Nick Bosa with their selection, but should the Arizona Cardinals, who own the No. 1 pick, surprisingly trade down or pick an edge rusher instead of Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, their focus could change. One option: Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, whom many have ranked No. 1 on their draft boards.

Williams also could fit the Raiders with the No. 4 pick, but there have been whispers about a trade up to No. 1 for Murray. That might require the Raiders to give up two first-round picks, and should a deal happen, it would completely alter the league's landscape.

It promises to be an interesting slate of 32 picks made in Music City, and you can follow live as each selection is made in the 2019 NFL Draft tracker below:

1. Arizona Cardinals
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. New York Jets
4. Oakland Raiders
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6. New York Giants
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
8. Detroit Lions
9. Buffalo Bills
10. Denver Broncos
11. Cincinnati Bengals
12. Green Bay Packers
13. Miami Dolphins
14. Atlanta Falcons
15. Washington Redskins
16. Carolina Panthers
17. New York Giants (from Cleveland Browns in Odell Beckham Jr. trade)
18. Minnesota Vikings
19. Tennessee Titans
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
21. Seattle Seahawks
22. Baltimore Ravens
23. Houston Texans
24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago Bears in Khalil Mack trade)
25. Philadelphia Eagles
26. Indianapolis Colts
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas Cowboys in Amari Cooper trade)
28. Los Angeles Chargers
29. Seattle Seahawks (from Kansas City Chiefs in Frank Clark trade)
30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans Saints in 2018 draft-day trade)
31. Los Angeles Rams
32. New England Patriots