In a perfect scenario, 49ers general manager John Lynch would likely trade down in the first round of the NFL draft on April 27.
With no clear difference-making player looming for San Francisco’s No. 2 overall choice, Lynch could deal it and wind up with perhaps two picks in the first round. That would allow him to beef up his thin roster with young, impact talent. Two players reportedly high on the 49ers’ wish list, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster and LSU running back Leonard Fournette, among others, could then be targeted. Niners scouts this week were at LSU’s pro day to watch Fournette and several other LSU talents.
But as several NFL analysts have pointed out, this may be a difficult draft for Lynch to get what he wants for the No. 2 choice.
First, the quarterback crop isn’t as strong this year, so teams may not be willing to give up extra picks to move up to select a quarterback such as Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson or DeShone Kizer – considered the top three.
Plus, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” said this week that the type of talent available in this draft also makes trading down for a haul of extra picks more difficult.
“This is a really strong draft, probably right up there with the 2014 or 2011 draft,” Breer said in a radio interview on KNBR. “The problem for teams like the 49ers, the Bears (who pick third), who might want to trade down because they’ve got a lot of holes, might want to build up some numbers on their roster, is that at the positions where this draft is strong, it’s also deep. I’m talking about corner, safety, the edge rushers, the receivers, the tight ends, the backs. So there’s a feeling that there’s not a lot of difference.
“As strong as the draft is, there’s not a huge difference between say (No.) 2 and 12 or 3 and 15 or 10 and 20. So it doesn’t make sense for other teams to trade up to say get a corner or an edge rusher when there’s going to be a pretty good player at that position at their natural pick.”
If the 49ers stay with the second pick, Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas has been the popular choice by the majority of draft analysts.