General manager Scot McCloughan acknowledged Thursday that the 49ers will have to get "a little bit lucky" to select a top-tier offensive lineman with their first pick in the NFL draft Saturday.

But their luck up front hasn't been so good lately.

Projected starter David Baas suffered a torn right pectoral muscle during a recent workout and is expected to miss a significant amount of training camp. Team spokesman Aaron Salkin said the right guard would undergo surgery, perhaps today, and would be fine by the start of the regular season. Tony Wragge is penciled in as the starter in the meantime.

McCloughan said Baas' injury would not affect the way the team approached its first-round selection -- the 29th overall -- Saturday. The 49ers will consider an offensive lineman, but they would have anyway. McCloughan also identified inside linebacker as a priority and said he had no reservations about taking a linebacker in the first round for a second consecutive season.

"Especially in our 3-4, the more 'backers you have (the better)," McCloughan said. "They're usually your playmakers on defense. Again, we're going to carry more 'backers than most teams because of special teams value, as well."

In addition to No. 1 overall pick Jake Long, four other offensive linemen could go in the first 20 picks: Virginia guard Branden Albert, Boise State tackle Ryan Clady, Pittsburgh tackle Jeff Otah and Vanderbilt tackle Chris Williams.


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The next best on the list might be Boston College tackle Gosder Cherilus, although it is a tossup as to whether he would be available when the 49ers pick and whether the team would want him. McCloughan declined to comment on specific players, saying only that there were "four or five" linemen worthy of a first-round selection.

If the 49ers choose to go with a linebacker instead, McCloughan said the team is in search of a replacement for Derek Smith, a longtime starter at inside linebacker.

Possibilities at No. 29 could include Tennessee's Jerod Mayo, who ran an impressive 4.54-second 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. Dan Connor of Penn State is coming off a season in which he was credited with a career-high 145 tackles.

Asked about Quentin Groves, the Auburn outside linebacker the 49ers brought in for a workout earlier this month, McCloughan said: "Size, speed -- he's been very productive in the SEC for 31/2 years."

In other 49ers news:

  • McCloughan said the 49ers are more likely to trade out of the first round than trade up. Either way, the phone is already ringing.

    The NFL's push for a more efficient draft means teams are laying the groundwork for trades earlier than ever. There are only 10 minutes between first-round picks this year instead of 15.

    McCloughan said he had talked to four teams already and expected to hear from four more by the end of the day. "There's been more contact this year than ever," he said.

  • Larry Allen's status remains a mystery. The longtime offensive guard has not made it known whether he will return to the team or retire. A starting job with the 49ers is not assured, but McCloughan said, "If Larry Allen wants to be a 49ers, he'll be a 49er. -- There's no bad blood."

  • Regarding this year's receiver class, McCloughan said: "The quality's good, but I wouldn't say as good as the last two years up top. In the mid-rounds, it's good. You have a chance to get one or two good football players at the receiver position in the mid-rounds."

  • Discussions with free-agent outside linebacker Takeo Spikes, 31, are on hold until after the weekend. McCloughan said, "We're sitting tight and seeing where the draft goes." Spikes is apparently doing the same, waiting to see which teams still need starters after draft day.

  • Offensive tackle Jonas Jennings, coming off an ankle injury, is expected to participate in the 49ers minicamp next Friday through Sunday. In an offseason rehabilitation plan that had the blessing of coach Mike Nolan, Jennings worked out near his Atlanta home rather than at the team's Santa Clara facility. (Jennings wanted to be closer to home for family reasons.)

    Nolan has already informed Jennings that he would be moving from left tackle to right tackle to make better use of Joe Staley. "I was pleased," Nolan said of Jennings' reaction. "He was more reasonable than I thought. He said he had been anticipating the move."

  • Nolan said he expected every player under contract to be at minicamp, although some players coming off injury will be limited. That includes quarterback Alex Smith, who begins his quest to retain his starting job.

    Smith had shoulder surgery in December, and Nolan said the 49ers would probably hold back on having him make any long throws.

    Linebacker Manny Lawson, coming off ACL surgery, will also be handled cautiously during minicamp.

    Contact Daniel Brown at dbrown@mercurynews.com.