The annual NFL Draft is an opportunity for NFL franchises to address their positional needs that were not addressed adequately in free agency. There are numerous franchises that will be looking to address wide receiver depth in the first round of the NFL Draft. That list of teams does not include the San Francisco 49ers. Tavon Austin, our electric Mountaineer alumnus, is reportedlyvisiting the 49ers this week to work out for the scouts and coaching staff. As a result, many analysts have speculated that Austin may be a potential draft target of the 49ers who hold the 31st pick and 14 total draft picks. All though Austin is getting a chance to work out for the 49ers there is no reason to believe he will suit up in red and gold next season. Here are just a few reasons:
- The 49ers just traded for Anquan Boldin. Now that they have acquired Boldin from the Baltimore Ravens for a washing machine and a 6th round pick (enough to make Ravens fans puke) to play alongside Michael Crabtree, they 49ers have little need for another high end receiver. Yes their current back-ups Manningham and Williams are banged up, but both will return early in the season and they will be just fine with A.J. Jenkins (last year’s 1st round pick) as the third receiver.
- Austin is likely going to be drafted in the top half of the 1st round. The 49ers would need to sacrifice quite a few draft choices to get ahead of receiver starved teams like the Rams and Vikings to obtain Tavon Austin. Having 14 selections will certainly give the 49ers plenty of trade ammunition, but I don’t know if that will be enough to move up high enough to beat out the Vikings (who have two 1st round picks).
- The secondary is the top priority in the draft. The old adage is that defense wins championships and it was apparent last month that the 49ers secondary was not good enough to win one. Having lost out on Ed Reed (Texans) and letting Dashon Goldson go (Buccaneers), the safety position is a major need for the 49ers. San Francisco also needs to add playmakers at cornerback to shore up the play of the struggling Carlos Rogers and Chris Culliver. Drafting Austin when you could land a big time defensive back like Dee Miliner, Xavier Rhodes, or Kenny Vacaro would certainly be unwise for the 49ers.
Don’t get me wrong, Tavon Austin will be a major boost to any NFL franchise that drafts him next month. It just seems like the 49ers need a lot of pieces on the defensive side of the football and would have to sacrifice a lot to add Austin to a pretty solid receiving corps.