A 49ers squad that has been flummoxed by small, shifty slot receivers will have to deal with another one - twice a year, once on turf - starting in 2013. The Rams traded up eight slots to take West Virginia receiver/running back Tavon Austin, who presumably will replace Danny Amendola as Sam Bradford's top third-down weapon. The 49ers did not beat the Rams last season. Both games went to overtime; the teams tied once and the Rams won the other.
Austin, who weighs just 173 pounds, was one of the players who visited the 49ers before the draft, and there was some speculation that San Francisco could trade up to select him. Instead the rams made the move. Austin had 1,289 receiving yards last season and scored 12 touchdowns. St. Louis gave up the No. 16 and No. 46 overall picks to Buffalo, and the teams swapped picks in the third round.
Starting cornerback Carlos Rogers has played very well against outside receivers in two seasons in San Francisco. However, he's had trouble with slot receivers like Victor Cruz, Amendola and Percy Harvin, who is now with the division-rival Seahawks.
The 49ers currently have five cornerbacks on the roster and are expected to take at least one in the next three days. They have shown a lot of interest in former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who likely will be taken in the third round.
Meanwhile, the pass-protection-challenged Cardinals selected a guard, UNC's Jonathan Cooper, with the No. 7 overall pick. That likely means that ex-49er Chilo Rachal, obtained via free agency, is not pegged to start for Arizona.
-- Matt Barrows