There aren’t many starting positions that are open on the 49ers, but there is one at safety. Dashon Goldson signed with the Tampa Bay Buccanneers this offseason via free agency and is the only secondary starting player from last year not returning.
Donte Whitner is the only starter remaining and currently the competition to play alongside him includes Craig Dahl, C.J. Spillman, Darcel McBath, Michael Thomas and Trenton Robinson. Dahl was the starting safety for the Rams last year but competition should still be drafted. The 49ers figure to bring in more depth to the safety position in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Here is a list of safeties who could be taken in the first two rounds:
Kenny Vaccaro (Texas) 6-0, 214 pounds: Vaccaro could play right away as the starting safety of the 49ers if he was taken. He possesses the strength and athleticism to play either safety position and can also be used as a nickel back. Vaccaro is mostly known for his man to man coverage which has him as the best safety in this draft class according to scouts. With his stock being the highest out of safeties, the 49ers would need to trade up if they wanted him.
Jonathan Cyprien (Florida International) 6-0, 217 pounds: Cyprien is one of the hardest hitting safeties in the draft available. He is aggressive in coverage and is solid in box coverage. The 49ers hosted him earlier this month and he is projected as a second round draft pick.
Eric Reid (LSU) 6-1, 213 pounds: Reid is a versatile safety who can play against both the run and pass. He is also very physical and sometimes over aggressive in coverage. Reid is projected as a second round draft pick.
Matt Elam (Florida) 5-10, 208 pounds: Like Cyprien, Elam is a safety who can excel in box coverage. He shows the ability to make plays by tackling people in the open field and can be used effectively on blitzes. Elam is currently projected to be a late first round pick or else he will be taken in the second round.
D.J. Swearinger (South Carolina) 5-10, 208 pounds: Swearinger is a tenacious hitter for a safety and is most productive in box coverage. He has the speed and athleticism to cover receivers in man coverage if necessary. Swearinger is projected to be taken in the second or third round.
Phillip Thomas (Fresno State) 6-0, 208 pounds: Thomas is an athletic defender and is also a good tackler. He also has agility and quickness to stay with defenders when needed. Thomas would be a project player with raw abilities, but will need some coaching to improve his game to NFL standards. He is currently projected to be taken in the second or even third round.
Duke Williams (Nevada) 5-11, 190 pounds: Williams is a sprinter but also has good balance when defending in coverage. He would excel in covering receivers downfield, but has an average size. Williams is projected to be taken in the mid rounds and the 49ers hosted him in Santa Clara earlier this month.