San Francisco 49ers’ Aldon Smith (99) celebrates his sack against Green Bay Packers’s starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) in the first
San Francisco 49ers' Aldon Smith (99) celebrates his sack against Green Bay Packers's starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) in the first quarter at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif. on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) (Nhat V. Meyer)

SANTA CLARA — A devilish pass rush would do wonders while the 49ers' overhauled secondary takes shape this season.

Aldon Smith's sack production would fit that bill perfectly, but how safe a bet is that?

With Smith facing a possible team or league suspension pending his legal outcomes, the 49ers may seek pass-rushing help in this week's draft.

That's not to say the 49ers are thin on the edges, and quarterbacks are safe. Ahmad Brooks will still be charging from his left outside linebacker spot while Corey Lemonier and Dan Skuta will wait in the wings behind Smith.

But is there a Smith clone lurking in the draft?

San Francisco 49ers’ Aldon Smith (99) celebrates his sack against Green Bay Packers’s starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) in the first
San Francisco 49ers' Aldon Smith (99) celebrates his sack against Green Bay Packers's starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) in the first quarter at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif. on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) ( Nhat V. Meyer )

"Aldon Smith like? You're probably not going to find that," said Mike Mayock, NFL Network's draft analyst. "There are some intriguing 3-4 outside linebacker candidates in the second and third rounds."

That could work well for the 49ers. After their first-round spot at No. 30, they have two picks in the second round (Nos. 56 and 61) and three in Round 3 (Nos. 77, 94 and 100).

Pass-rushing prospects, as listed by Mayock, include Boise State's DeMarcus Lawrence, Louisville's Marcus Smith and Stanford's Trent Murphy and Georgia Tech's Jeremiah Attaochu.

Murphy could become the first Stanford prospect drafted by the 49ers since they hired coach Jim Harbaugh away from The Farm in 2011. Other prospects possibly on the 49ers' radar are UCLA's Anthony Barr, BYU's Kyle Van Noy, Arizona State's Carl Bradford and South Florida's Aaron Lynch.


Advertisement

One lower-round candidate is Michael Sam, the NFL's first openly gay prospect.

"Whenever anyone steps out and does something of that nature, I certainly think there is an element of courage that goes along with that," Baalke said. "That's an issue that is continually being addressed, not only in the National Football League but in society."

Sam, who was a Missouri defensive end like Smith, is projected by Kiper as a late-round prospect. "For a designated pass rusher, he's got some value," Kiper said.

FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2012 file photo, Missouri’s Michael Sam (52) runs onto the field along with their teammates before the start of an NCAA
FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2012 file photo, Missouri's Michael Sam (52) runs onto the field along with their teammates before the start of an NCAA college football game against Georgia in Columbia, Mo. With openly gay player Michael Sam about to be drafted into the NFL, several members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including coach Marv Levy, linebacker Harry Carson and cornerback Michael Haynes, believe he will be readily accepted into the league and won't endure any discrimination. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File) ( Jeff Roberson )

Lawrence, the more heralded prospect, has some baggage. He was suspended three times for violating team rules.

Baalke certainly will take that into account, just as he says he did all prospects' character concerns even before this offseason's rash of 49ers-related police blotter incidents.

"Anybody who's been in this business for a long time has seen it all when it comes to player conduct -- what they're coming into the league as, what money does to them, what the fame, what the notoriety, what the scrutiny does to them," Baalke said.

"We're in a different era, let's face it. The social media era, the minute-to-minute reporting. It's made life for these guys very difficult. ... Going back to the original question — does character matter? — it does."

For more on the 49ers, see Cam Inman's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CamInman.