Like most NFL general managers, the 49ers’ Trent Baalke doesn’t let the media know what he’s thinking as the draft approaches.
As he said back in 2013, when asked which way he might lean for the Niners’ first choice, “Anything is possible.”
So the players on Baalke’s radar for the team’s first pick, No. 7 overall, will be a mystery until draft day.
But this year’s draft is a key one for Baalke and San Francisco, and it’s about much more than the seventh overall choice. While the team is sure to become more active in free agency after a slow first week, it’s the draft where Baalke can make the biggest impact on a roster full of needs on both offense and defense.
And now the 49ers have 12 picks in this year’s draft that begins April 28, the most of any team in the league. With the addition of four compensatory picks, San Francisco has plenty of opportunities to restock the roster and make trades.
According to Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group, the 49ers now have a pick in the first round, second round and third round, two in the fourth, three in the fifth and four in the sixth. The 49ers have no picks in the seventh round.
The compensatory picks (a fourth-, a fifth- and two sixth-rounders) cannot be traded.
Baalke has long liked to stock up on draft picks, but that hasn’t always produced success. He had 11 picks in 2013, 12 in 2014 and 10 in 2015, yet those draft classes haven’t produced the talent and depth the 49ers have needed. As Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat wrote recently, "His drafts have lacked skill, logic and common sense. The past three years he drafted five players with torn ACLs and none of them has amounted to anything."
Still, Baalke has plenty of ammunition for this draft, which is a make-or-break one for the franchise. It’s possible, too, that the 49ers will gain an extra pick or two if they decide to trade quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Speculation has been that the 49ers would receive a third- or second-round pick for him.