On Day 1 of the NFL Draft, the 49ers were secondary players.
Though they went into the draft with 11 selections – including six of the first 100 – the Niners didn’t make a big splash. They didn’t make a trade to move boldly up in the first round. They stayed where they were at No. 30 and let teams like the Browns, Bills and Vikings make the splashy, high-profile moves and picks.
Friday, however, could be a very different day for San Francisco.
After taking safety/nickel cornerback Jimmie Ward at the bottom of Round 1, the 49ers go into Friday’s second and third rounds with five selections.. They have the 56th and 61st overall picks in the second round and Nos. 77, 94 and 100 in the third round.
With all those picks in their pockets – and with general manager Trent Baalke’s trade history – it’s likely that San Francisco could move up or down a couple of times in Friday’s draft to either get the players it wants or stock up additional picks for 2015.
The 49ers’ two biggest needs remain at cornerback and wide receiver, and several top prospects are available at both positions.
Baalke said Thursday, after taking Ward that he is optimistic about getting an impact wide receiver Friday.
“We feel good about the wide receiver corps all the way through the draft,” Baalke told reporters. “We feel there’s going to be value to be had at every level. That’s one of the positions we felt all along had some depth to it.”
Indiana’s Cody Latimer – a player who has been linked to the 49ers by several analysts – is still available, as is USC’s Marqise Lee, Penn State’s Allen Robinson, Fresno State’s Davante Adams, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews and South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington.
Lee is the highest-profile wideout left, but Latimer and Adams reportedly may be more to the 49ers’ liking.
The best cornerbacks still available include Rashaad Reynolds of Oregon State, Bashaud Breeland of Clemson, Pierre Desir of Linendwood University, Keith McGill of Utah, Stanley Jean-Baptiste of Nebraska, Phillip Gaines of Rice, Marcus Roberson of Florida and Antone Exum of Virginia Tech.
After addressing wide receiver and cornerback Friday, the 49ers could go for an outside or inside linebacker or a quarterback. Though Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert are the team’s starter and backup, the 49ers reportedly would like to bring in a young talent to be groomed as a long-term No. 2 QB. It’s possible San Francisco could use one of its tird-round selections on a passer.
After Friday’s second and third rounds, San Francisco will have five picks Saturday – one in the fourth round, one in the fifth and three in the seventh.