Perhaps the closest 'sure-thing' when it comes to the 49ers' upcoming draft: At some point, they will take a safety. After all, the team lost one of its starters at the position, Dashon Goldson, to free agency while the other, Donte Whitner, is scheduled to be a free agent next year.
Meanwhile, this year's draft is considered very solid solid from top to bottom, and the 49ers have taken close looks at prospects who likely will be taken both early and late in the draft. One of the safeties who has gotten a lot of attention from San Francisco: Josh Evans, who played opposite the more heralded Matt Elam for the Gators. Here's the list:
* John Boyett, Oregon. The 49ers sent a scout and an assistant coach to Boyett's workout at Napa High on Wednesday. Boyett still is a month away from full recovery from patella surgeries in September and October but still ran his 40-yard dash in the 4.5- and 4.6-second range, which bodes well for his recovery. How the 49ers and other teams view Boyett, who had an impressive 276 tackles and nine interceptions in three seasons in Eugene, will boil down to their medical evaluation of his knees.
* Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International. He is a distinct possibility to the 49ers at either pick No. 31 or pick No. 34. Cyprien played at a small school and has been climbing draft boards since an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl. The 49ers probably did not have as extensive a scouting report on Cyprien as they did, say, Elam, which would explain his visit.
* Matt Elam, Florida. The 49ers attended Elam's pro day last month and had lunch with him the day before. He has been described as being very similar in stature and style to Whitner. That doesn't necessarily rule him out for the 49ers considering that Whitner is entering the final year of his contract.
* Josh Evans, Florida. He's a tall and lean free-safety (6-1, 207) who is expected to be taken somewhere in the middle of the draft. Evans led a talented Florida defense last year with 85 tackles and also had three interceptions. He met with the 49ers and Jim Harbaugh at the scouting combine and also has a private workout scheduled with the 49ers. Some teams are looking at him as a Richard Sherman-type cornerback. The Browns and 49ers have shown the most interest in Evans to date.
* Eric Reid, LSU. The 49ers met with Reid at the combine and one of their top scouts, Justin Chabot, was on hand for LSU's pro day last month. Because LSU has so many talented players, the 49ers - and every other team - will have made multiple stops in Baton Rouge throughout the year. Reid has excellent size and good speed, and he very well could be the player the 49ers are targeting in the first or second round.
* Duke Williams, Nevada. Like Boyett and Elam, Williams is a big hitter despite his relatively small frame (5-11, 203). He also ran very well at the scouting combine, covering 40 yards in 4.48 seconds. He met with the 49ers at the combine and, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, had a 30-minute film session with the 49ers following Nevada's pro day.
There was a good story in USA Today today about former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who has admitted to 10 failed drug tests while at LSU. That explains why the 49ers flew him out to Santa Clara earlier this week. That's the type of question mark - a big one - they want to get answered with one of their 30 visits.
- Matt Barrows