The San Francisco 49ers enter the NFL Combine with a new head coach and what should be a new regime for the 2015 season. General Manager Trent Baalke is still the head of the front office, but now Jim Tomsula is the head coach.
There will only be questions regarding this new team. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock thinks that Baalke will stay true to the 49ers identity of football when approaching the draft. He doesn’t expect any changes in philosophy.
“I would imagine Trent feels pretty strongly about who they are philosophically as an organization: a big, strong [and] physical team,” Mayock said in a conference call. “I would be really surprised if they deviated from the way they’ve approached things in the past.”
The 49ers have been known to be a run-first team with a physical style of smash-mouth football. Frank Gore was often the face of the 49ers offense where he had eight 1,000-yard seasons and the team would be known for downhill running plays depending on a great offensive line.
After coming off a rough 8-8 season in 2014, the 49ers are expecting to lose some key players via free agency. Defensively, Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver are pending free agents where both were starting cornerbacks for majority of the season.
Mayock said he is uncertain on what will happen for WR Michael Crabtree, who enters free agency for the first time in his NFL career. He also was not committal on what could happen to both CBs.
“It’s hard to kind of go out there and tell you what [the 49ers are] going to do,” Mayock said. “[Mike] Iupati is a free agent, so that offensive line that’s been so good for so long is starting to get older now. You know he’s going to want to replenish with big, physical players. So it’s at this point because of their questions in free agency, especially corner, left guard and wide receiver, it’s really hard to say what they’d attack in the draft.”
The current needs for the 49ers involve cornerback and wide receiver as the primary holes, but the offensive line could always use more depth. With Iupati presumably gone, the 49ers braced for it by drafting OLs Marcus Martin and Brandon Thomas in the previous 2014 NFL Draft.
With the combine happening, the 49ers will have their targets acquired in both the draft and free agency. A domino effect will occur when they address a few positions signed as free agents, leaving the door for other spots that will be taken in the draft.
The 2015 NFL Draft will be in Chicago starting on April 30 having the first round. It will carry for the whole weekend where the final day of the draft is on May 2nd.