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San Francisco 49ers 2016 Off-Season: Top 3 Needs

The San Francisco 49ers 2016 Off-Season will very busy as the team retools for a new season under new head coach Chip Kelly.

San Francisco looked lost throughout the entire 2015 season. Despite ending on a victory, the team finished 5-11. Colin Kaepernick went from great to mediocre to simply bad last year. His play got him essentially benched for Blaine Gabbert. Jim Tomsula did not look capable of coaching a team and was fired in favor of new coach Chip Kelly. San Francisco was a very bad football team last season that was lacking talent on both sides of the ball. They gave up 387.4 yards per game, fourth worst in the league. They were average in terms of points allowed (24.2) but this meant nothing when they were last in the NFL in points scored per game (14.9). Their offense was absolutely horrendous. With a bad offensive line, there was no running lanes or pass protection. The team does not have a talented receiving core either.

The team was positioned to pick as high as fourth in the upcoming NFL draft before defeating St. Louis in their season finale. They now pick seventh and this will be their best place to add talent to the team. They also have plenty of cap space to go after free agents and reload. The team has more than $55 million to spend and should use it. Since the roster is so depleted, there are plenty of needs and the team can go after any position. They don’t have any young stars to build around on either side of the ball. Carlos Hyde looked great in the opener, but struggled after getting hurt. Last year’s first round draft choice Arik Armstead did not see the field as much as many wanted. Kelly should plan to use more of the former Oregon star in 2016.

San Francisco 2016 Off-Season: Top 3 Needs


San Francisco desperately needs a quarterback to take the reins in 2016. After Kaepernick failed miserably, it is rumored that he wants out of San Francisco despite the seemingly smart fit in Chip Kelly’s offense. Blaine Gabbert took over the starting position and appears to simply be a fill-in quarterback while the 49ers try and find a replacement. Gabbert struggled to move the ball and is not the long-term solution.

The team should look at adding a quarterback to the roster in either free agency or the draft. Jared Goff (California), Paxton Lynch (Memphis) and Carson Wentz (North Dakota State) are the top three quarterbacks in the draft. While Goff is projected to go high, the other two may be available at the seventh pick. San Francisco could also look to add another quarterback to compete for the job in free agency. Sam Bradford was the quarterback in Kelly’s system last season and could be a fit, but it is highly unlikely they sign him. The team should look at somebody like Chase Daniel or Drew Stanton as a cheaper option that could compete for the starting job.

Offensive Line

San Francisco gave up 53 sacks in 2015. This was second highest in the league, one behind Tennessee. The line was simply terrible and was a big reason why the offense was so bad in 2015. Anthony Davis has said he wants to return in 2016 after taking a year off of football. Davis is a good right tackle who would help solve the problems they had at that position all year. The team can really use any help on the line and will look to upgrade in free agency and in the draft.

San Francisco should spend most of their cap space on the line. If none of the elite tackles fall to them at seven in the draft, they should look to sign players. Kelechi Osemele, a lineman from Baltimore, would be a great fit for San Francisco. They should also take a look at Richie Incognito, although he is likely to re-sign with Buffalo.

Pass Rush

San Francisco went from having a dominant pass rush to a weak one very quickly. The team recorded a meager 28.0 sacks in the 2015. This was good for 29th in the league. The team really struggled to put any sort of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The secondary was already young and inexperienced, so giving the quarterback extra time was not helpful to them. There are options in both the draft and free agency for them to look at.

In free agency, the team should look at Malik Jackson, Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon or Bruce Irvin. While it is unclear whether all these players will be available, San Francisco would love to sign at least one of them. The team should also look at Jaylon Smith, DeForest Buckner and Shaq Lawson at their draft choice.

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