Niners Now in Good Draft Position

Acquiring the 13th overall choice from the Colts gives San Francisco options to move down for more picks or trade a pick for a key veteran

General Manager John Lynch of the San Francisco 49ers.
Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The 49ers have two picks in the first round of the NFL draft.

Some analysts believe it’s essential the team trades the lowest of those choices.

The Niners went into this offseason with only one first-round selection, the 31st overall. But the recent trade of defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Colts for the 13th overall pick doubled the 49ers’ first-round firepower. Yet San Francisco doesn’t have choices in the second, third or fourth rounds. 

They have two fifths, a sixth and two seventh-round selections, but will have to sit idly by for three rounds – unless they can trade that 31st choice and collect some second-day draft opportunities.

Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com wrote this week that San Francisco “must find a way to trade down out of their spot at No. 31 to acquire midround picks.” Wagoner wrote: “It’s imperative that the Niners gather more choices and don’t find themselves waiting until the fifth round (to harvest more talent).”

General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan know they need to keep adding fresh talent to the roster, as they have the past three seasons. Both say they’re open to any and all opportunities to get extra picks in the days before the start of the April 23 first round, or in the three days of the selection process. 

“We’ve got to be creative,” Lynch told Wagoner. “We’ve got to be exhaustive in all the avenues we look at to improve our football team. We’re committed to doing that.”

It’s most likely the 49ers keep the 13th choice and trade out of the 31st. At No. 13, they could then select one of several highly regarded wide receivers, the team’s biggest need. But some media members, such as Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated, believe the team could perhaps get an even bigger collection of talent and picks by trading down from No. 13.

Orr recently projected in a mock draft that the Niners could trade back from No. 13 to 21 and get a strong defensive tackle, such as TCU’s Ross Blacklock, then take a wide receiver or cornerback at No. 31. 

Eric Ting of the San Francisco Chronicle recently examined the situation, and said there’s another option: the 49ers could trade either first-round choice for an established NFL player. This offseason, top wide receivers Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins have been acquired through trades in exchange for draft choices. 

Ting said trading Buckner to the Colts gave Lynch and Shanahan the versatility they need to enrich the roster this offseason. Wrote Ting: “When you acquire an asset as powerful as the 13th pick in this year’s draft, anything is on the table.”

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