Every year NFL teams get to select their rookies from a class of players leaving college football. They take turns through seven rounds selecting in order based on their performance the previous year. Last year the 49ers did pretty well, so they were selecting towards the end of the rounds. I was hoping that the 49ers would fill needs in the offensive line and add some more depth to the defensive line.

Just some thoughts on their picks:

Drafted two offensive linemen; Joe Looney in the fourth round and Jason Slowey in the sixth round. Hopefully they will add depth, but I doubt either can contribute a great deal right away. The departure of Guard Adam Snyder leaves a need that hasn’t been filled.

I wonder how much influence the 49ers last game had on their picks. The 49ers lost in the conference final due in part to inexperience at the return position. Ted Ginn Junior was injured and mistakes by his back up pretty much cost the 49ers the game. The 49ers drafted speedy Wide Reciever A.J. Jenkins in the first round and Running Back LaMichael James in the second. Both could contribute to the return game.

A.J. Jenkins also adds depth to a deep position at Wide Receiver. It seems that competition in training camp could be fierce. Even more so for Running Backs. Bruising Running Back Brandon Jacobs has already been added to the 49ers backfield in the off season, so rookie LaMichael James joins him along with Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon. The 49ers also signed Running Back Rock Cartwright in the off season, but I expect his main contribution to be on special teams. That means right now the 49ers have six Running Backs on their roster. I’d be surprised if they didn’t cut at least one and probably two of them before the season starts.

Frank Gore is staying, but he’s getting older and injuries are becoming more of a concern. Kendall Hunter showed flashes of brilliance last year and I can’t see them immediately cutting a second round pick. I expect there to be competition between the big backs (Anthony Dixon, 6’1″, 233lbs and Brandon Jacobs, 6’4″, 264lbs) so at least one of them will be packing their bags. I expect that Rock Cartwright will have to be a hell of a contributor on special teams to justify his roster spot too.

In the seventh round the 49ers drafted Defensive End Cam Johnson. It’s encouraging that he was predicted to be taken higher than the seventh. This guy could add the depth needed on the defensive line. The 49ers also drafted another Linebacker, adding depth to what I consider to be the best group of linebackers in the league.

Roll on preseason!

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