Syndication: Florida Times-Union
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The 49ers have a number of positions to address in the draft, and safety should be one of them.

The San Francisco 49ers have had an eventful offseason to date, adding a number of new players at several positions to fortify the roster and fill their holes ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft.

The team made several moves along the defensive line, while also adding players at cornerback, linebacker, and tight in addition to retaining a couple of their free agents.

However, one position where the 49ers have stayed pat is safety, as the team’s lone move was extending special-teams ace George Odum on a two-year, $10 million deal.

San Francisco lost Tashaun Gipson to free agency, with retirement seeming like a realistic option, but didn’t choose to fortify the position, despite seeing a robust safety market that has really yet to fully materialize.

Currently, the 49ers have Talanoa Hufanga, who is nursing a torn ACL, 2023 third-round pick Ji’Ayir Brown, Odum, and reserves Erik Harris and Tayler Hawkins, who spent time on the practice squad last season.

Is safety an underrated need for the 49ers?

Absolutely. While many, myself included, are pointing to the offensive line, cornerback, and wide receiver as key areas to address in the 2024 NFL Draft, safety could be seen as an equally important need for the 49ers.

Why? Because not only does the team need depth at the position after losing Gipson, and not only has their top player sustained a major injury, but Talanoa Hufanga is also an unrestricted free agent in 2025, and the 49ers may not be able to afford to keep the 2021 sixth-rounder.

While San Francisco could recoup a compensatory pick upon his departure, the 49ers would then have a glaring need at safety, which is why addressing the position this offseason could be key.

The 2024 NFL Draft doesn’t seem as top-heavy at the safety position as other recent class, but, nonetheless, there’s still quality talent to be had in the middle rounds of the draft, with a number of different player archetypes standing out.

By selecting a safety with one of their first selections, the 49ers would remain young and cost-controlled at a position where they haven’t doled out significant money in the Kyle Shanahan era, while creating the succession plan for Hufanga, should he leave in free agency next offseason.`

There’s also the argument that the 49ers need a diverse body in the room, as Hufanga and Ji’Ayir Brown’s skillsets are similar to each other, which could have the team looking for more of a versatile deep safety in the draft to even out the group.

Now, there are still a number of veteran safeties still out there in free agency, with Denver’s Justin Simmons standing out.

But, the free agent group comprises almost entirely of veterans around or over the age of 30, causing the 49ers to question whether they want an older option or to get younger and cheaper at the position.

The draft provides the latter possibility, while allowing San Francisco to have two cost-controlled options at the position for the near future as they retool in an attempt to uphold their championship window.

However, regardless of where the 49ers choose to add to the position, safety is an underrated need for the team, both given the depth and future outlook of the group.

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