The 49ers have one glaring need to fill in this year’s upcoming NFL draft and that is the safety position. With the departure of Dashon Goldson, who signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent, the 49ers currently have Donte Whitner who will hold down his starting spot and opposite him are a hodgepodge of names like Trenton Robinson, Darcel McBath, Craig Dahl and Michael Thomas. While it is possible one of the younger guys could step up and make a name for themselves, it’s more likely the 49ers use at least one of their 13 draft picks to select a safety. Here are draft profiles of three potential players the 49ers could land if they elect not to move up in the draft order and snag the top safety prospect Kenny Vaccaro out of Texas.
D.J. Swearinger– South Carolina, he is 5’11, 208lbs and ran a 4.6 40 yard dash at the combine with a 37” vertical jump and a combine best 6.7 seconds in the 3 cone drill. He was a four year starter for the Gamecocks and is considered one of the hardest hitting safeties in this year’s draft. He is a versatile defensive player, having player every position in the secondary at one point or another in college. Has been compared to NFL safeties TJ Ward and Louis Delmas(whom the 49ers considered signing this offseason). He was voted a second team ALL-SEC pick in 2012 and finished second on the team with 79 tackles. Two interceptions and forced fumbles and recoveries. NFL scouts have praised his straight line speed. Swearinger is considered a top 5 safety in this draft class and could fall into the 2nd or 3rd round. I would be very pleased if the 49ers were able to land Swearinger late on day two of the draft.
Jonathan Cyprien– Florida International, stands 6’0, weighs 217lbs and played strong safety in college. Ran a 4.64 in the 40 yard dash at the NFL combine. Started every game the past three seasons and led his team in tackles with 93 and interceptions with 4 this past season. Very good ball skills and physical player who made a name for himself at this year’s Senior Bowl. Very good at closing in on ball carriers or on screen passes. NFL comparisons are Jordan Babineaux and Morgan Burnett. He is also considered one of the hardest hitting safeties in the draft class. Cyprien is largely considered the second best safety in the draft and could go in late round one or possibly fall into round two. If he is waiting for the 49ers at that time it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get his name called.
Baccari Rambo-Georgia, cool name aside, Rambo stands 6’1, weighs 211lbs, and played free safety for the Bulldogs. He ran a 4.5 40 yard dash at the combine and is considered one of the 5 best safeties in the draft. Much will be made of Rambo’s off the field issues, where he was suspended the first four games of the 2012 season for drug use. When he was in the lineup however, he made a tremendous impact with 73 tackles, 3 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles and was named to the All-SEC second team alongside DJ Swearinger. He has a solid ability of reading the quarterback and being in position to make a play on the ball. He is a strong, physical player who has the skills to become a sold full time starter in the NFL. His NFL comparisons are Gerald Sensabaugh and coincidentally Dashon Goldson, whom the 49ers are trying to replace. If the 49ers are not afraid of his two failed drug tests, they could take a gamble and draft Rambo anywhere between the third and fourth round of the draft.