The 49ers’ already bare-bones offensive line grew a little thinner last week when starting right guard David Baas tore his right pectoral muscle while lifting weights. Baas will undergo surgery and is expected to miss a good chunk of training camp. Tony Wragge will fill in at right guard during the upcoming minicamp, which begins May 2. The team, however, insists that Baas will be ready for the regular season.
During their pre-draft luncheon today, both Scot McCloughan and Mike Nolan were asked how Baas’ injury will affect their draft. It won’t, they said, but you have to believe that the offensive line is paramount on their draft to-do list. The 49ers currently have nine offensive linemen under contract, but they would like to have 15 heading into training camp. That means that in addition to drafting an offensive lineman – or two – this weekend, the 49ers likely will be burning up the phone lines trying to sign undrafted free-agents on Sunday evening. McCloughan said there were "four or five" offensive linemen worthy of a first-round selection.
Other juicy tidbits from the luncheon.
* McCloughan already has been fielding phone calls about possible trades. In fact, he had to bolt from the luncheon to take four or so more calls. That's partly because teams now have only 10 minutes to make a pick and want to get the calls they might have made on draft day in previous years out of the way. "I've gotten more calls this year than ever," McCloughan said. But it's also because the 49ers are in a nice spot to make a trade. As I wrote earlier in the day, several teams likely will try to trade into the latter half of the first round to snag a quarterback. McCloughan said if the deal makes sense, the 49ers will move back. He said he didn't think they'd move up.
* All you DeSean Jackson backers might be disappointed. It doesn't seem like either McCloughan or Nolan are high on this year's crop of wideouts. In fact, Nolan called wide receiver the biggest first-round miss. (Biggest make = offensive tackle, he said). Of course, this all could be a big smoke screen. But I don't think so.
* Interestingly, McCloughan said he thought inside linebacker was a bigger need than outside linebacker. He said the 49ers would have no qualms about taking an inside linebacker early in the draft two seasons in a row. All you Jerod Mayo and Dan Connor fans, take note ...
* Asked about Quentin Groves, McCloughan called him a "unique guy." "Size, speed -- he's been very productive in the SEC for 3 1/2 years." In case you haven't noticed, the 49ers love SEC players. McCloughan notes that 38 percent of NFL players hail from the southeast. Of course, that reasoning holds true for Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo as well.
* Asked about Jonas Jennings, Nolan said he had spoken with Jennings and that the right tackle had said he would be in Santa Clara for the May 2 minicamp and will stick around the week after. Nolan said Jennings is rehabilitating his ankle in Atlanta and received Nolan's blessing before doing so. He also said the meeting in which he notified Jennings that he would be moved to right tackle went well. "I was pleased," Nolan said. "He was more reasonable than I thought. He said -- I don't know if he was lying -- he said he anticipated this. ... He realizes he has durability issues."
Some etc. items ...
* McCloughan said the team has 19 players (not including Jake Long) ranked as first rounders. Last year they had 17.
* The draft will determine where Takeo Spikes end up. If the 49ers pick up an inside linebacker, they'll likely stop pursuing Spikes. Of course, Spikes will keep a close eye on which teams draft middle linebackers, too. He'd like to be a starter.
* McCloughan didn't rule out drafting a quarterback but it didn't sound like the 49ers were pursuing one, either. The positions that the 49ers will avoid are RB and TE. The draft is deepest in OTs, RBs, TEs (in the mid rounds) and CBs.
* The team hasn't heard anything about Larry Allen's retirement plans, or for that matter, Bryant Young's. Both players are expected to hang it up but neither have filed the necessary paperwork with the NFL.
-- Matt Barrows