Realistic Trade-Up Possibilities for the 49ers' Draft
Having 13 picks in this year's NFL draft provides this team the opportunity to be the most active come Thursday night when the first round kicks off. With minimal spots to fill on the roster, however, the 49ers would do well to flip some of their fortune into creating a more pointed approach.
Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports says San Francisco could be very busy and has its eyes set on moving up to the 13th or 14th pick range.
With so many teams wanting to stockpile draft picks, the 49ers really do have the upper hand here. They also cannot afford to add more than a handful rookies onto the roster, so look for San Francisco to be very active.
The 49ers are not slated to make their first selection until pick No. 31 (they also own the 34th pick that they received in the Alex Smith trade with the Kansas City Chiefs), but have two picks each in rounds two through five. Though finding the right trading partner is key, San Francisco is not short of options with so many different scenarios to consider.
Here are a few realistic possibilities for the 49ers to consolidate their draft board.
Matt Miller's (Bleacher Report) latest mock draft is used as reference point on where players might land.
49ers Are Proactive, Make Big Move Early
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Not wanting to breed complacency, the San Francisco 49ers could opt to make their move early and target one of the bigger names in this year's draft. By moving into the 13th or 14th pick range, as Yahoo! Sports Jason Cole suggests, they would accomplish just that.
Though this is the costliest option to leverage multiple picks, the 49ers have the choice here of bringing in an immediate playmaker or someone who can learn behind some of the best talent in the NFL for a year or two.
Potential Picks: Star Lotulelei, defensive tackle out of Utah; Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, defensive out of BYU; Desmond Trufant, cornerback out of Washington; Sheldon Richardson, defensive tackle out of Missouri; Kenny Vaccaro, free safety out of Texas
Potential Scenario: The Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs have been linked in a move that would send left tackle Branden Albert to South Beach (via NFL.com). Should this deal get done, Miami could look to scale back in the draft and pick up a few extra selections along the way—seeming the Fins would more than likely be shipping a second-rounder to the Chiefs here.
Wait-and-See Approach to the 1st Round
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Instead of going for the home run early on, the San Francisco 49ers could opt to hang out at pick No. 31 to see just how the first round unfolds in front of them. By doing so, they won't have to guess at which spot they can snag certain players and just wait until the time is right.
With very little holes to fill—other than depth in most spots—the 49ers might be best served letting things play out and jumping on value as it falls to them. Do not cross out the possibility that San Francisco moves up just a few spots in the first round should a player start to slip down the draft board.
Potential Picks: Cordarrelle Patterson, wide receiver out of Tennessee; Xavier Rhodes, cornerback out of Florida State; Margus Hunt, defensive end out of SMU; Jonathan Cyprien, safety out of Florida International
Potential Scenario: Both the St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings own two picks each in the 16-25 range. Should both teams find what they want with the first of their two selections, they could be willing to add more value later in the draft by scaling back a bit in the first round.
Package Day 2 Picks to Double-Up in the 1st Round
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The San Francisco 49ers picked up the 34th overall pick in the trade that sent Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs. They also own the 61st and 74th overall picks and could try to put together a package that might land them another first-round selection in this year's draft.
There are plenty of teams picking in the back half of the first round this year looking to fill multiple spots along their roster. This would give San Francisco plenty of options, unloading several of their picks in the process.
Potential Picks: DeAndre Hopkins, wide receiver out of Clemson; Keenan Allen, wide receiver out of California; Cornelius "Tank" Carradine, defensive end out of Florida State; Damontre Moore, defensive end out of Texas A&M; D.J. Hayden, cornerback out of Houston; Datone Jones, defensive end out of UCLA
Potential Scenario: The San Francisco 49ers could specifically target a deal with the Minnesota Vikings here and move up to the 25th overall pick without giving up their own first-rounder (No. 31) in the process.
Shed Late-Rounders to Find Value on Day 2
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Other than the three compensatory picks they possess (total of three, of which they can't trade), the San Francisco 49ers have five other selections between the fourth and seventh rounds. With minimal spots to fill on the roster, these late-round picks would have an uphill battle to even make the team.
Instead of virtually wasting all of these picks on roster fillers, the 49ers could try to systematically maneuver their way into a couple extra third-round picks.
San Francisco does need to find viable depth across the offensive and defensive lines, in the defensive backfield, at tight end and, to a lesser extent, wide receiver and running back. The third and fourth rounds still offer plenty of possibilities.
A player to keep an eye on here is South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, who is coming off one of the more gruesome knee injuries we have ever seen.
The 49ers have the depth at running back to stash Lattimore until he is healthy. Frank Gore is not getting any younger and San Francisco has the picks to experiment with.
Planning for the Future
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The San Francisco 49ers have a very bright future ahead of them and enter the 2013 season as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. But with 13 total draft picks this year, there is nowhere for all those players to land on the roster.
Should the 49ers not find the right value, however, they could package some of their extra picks and look towards 2014. With most of the roster already in place, this is a luxury that few teams have this offseason.
Not to diminish focus on the task at hand, but San Francisco getting a jumpstart on next year's draft would not bode well for the rest of the league. And with so many picks this year, it is not unthinkable that the 49ers could pull off two or three of these scenarios.
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