When mocking draft-day trade options for the championship-contending San Francisco 49ers, aggressive, slam-dunk moves are often the point of prognostication.
Yours truly entertained these possibilities just last week.
Trading all the way up into the top seven for Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans would indeed qualify as such a maneuver. Selecting the former NCAA standout would require sacrificing extensive draft picks in both 2014 and next year’s draft.
But what about the more realistic scenarios for the Red and Gold? What realistically could happen with 11 tradable assets?
Take last April’s selection process for example.
Niners’ general manager Trent Baalke moved up 13 spots in the first round and took LSU safety Eric Reid. Ascending from No. 31 to No. 18 only necessitated a third-round pick.
Baalke then moved both up and down over the next two rounds.
He went from No. 34 to No. 40 and grabbed Florida State defensive lineman Tank Carradine. He then climbed from No. 61 to No. 55 for Rice tight end Vance McDonald in exchange for a sixth-rounder.
And in Round 3, he maneuvered up five spots from No. 93 to No. 88 for Auburn pass-rusher Corey Lemonier. The seventh-rounder he netted from the Carradine trade enabled this latest acquisition.
All of these moves were reasonable, prudent and didn’t involve the proverbial breaking of the bank. Baalke merely made sensible use of a bevy of draft capital at his disposal.
Many an analyst, scribe and 49ers fan believe that this team only needs an offensive red-zone threat or shutdown corner on defense. These folks—and I would tend to agree—argue that San Francisco is just one, maybe two pieces away from securing the franchise’s sixth Lombardi Trophy.
Can you blame them? There really is ample corroborating evidence behind these assertions.
One need only recall the back-breaking touchdown catches allowed and the ones that didn’t materialize on offense in crunch time during Super Bowl XLVII and last season’s NFC Championship Game.
That said, there are also plenty of ways in which Baalke can elevate this squad without “mortgaging the future”—much like he did in 2013.
On that note, let’s detail the five realistic draft-day trade options for the 49ers.