• Zach Pratt

Zach's Draft Corner: Options for 49ers at 31/Trade Back Scenarios

Image Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Zach’s Draft Corner, where it’s always amateur hour.

Usually a team just coming off of a Super Bowl appearance doesn't have too many needs to fill unless they are ravaged by free agency. While the 49ers certainly have strengths, there are still a few places where the 49ers could look to improve. Without knowing what happens in free agency, the 49ers could use an outside cornerback, one or two interior offensive linemen, one or both safety positions, afuture replacement for Joe Staley if they are not confident in Skule or Brunskill, and an outside wide receiver with speed.

The 49ers currently own picks 31, 139, 159, 191, 195, and 223. They could hope to get a compensatory pick, but hoping might be the best they can muster for what is an unlikely scenario.

Using The Draft Network's Mock Draft Machine, this is what I was able to put together if the 49ers stayed put:

In this scenario, the 49ers are able to grab a strong outside corner in Gladney, an athletic safety who excels in deep coverage in Fuller, a safety who can excel in a box role in Reed, a dynamic running back to pair with Mostert in Gibson if the 49ers allow Breida to walk and/or release Coleman and McKinnon, an exceptional deep threat in Cleveland, and an inexperienced but promising tackle in Heck. The way the board fell, they are not able to draft an interior offensive linemen, as the value simply wasn’t there.

There were other options that I passed on with the early pick, which is where the 49ers really need to draft the player that they think can make the biggest difference on the current team. If that is Gladney, so be it. While Kyle Shanahan is largely in favor of getting running backs and guards late in the draft, Lloyd Cushenberry from LSU was on the board if the 49ers think that the combination of Tomlinson, Person, and Richburg has run its course. If the 49ers really feel that a vertical threat on the outside is the biggest need, Jalen Reagor of TCU was still on the board in this scenario. If Jimmie Ward walks in free agency and Tarvarius Moore is not ready to take over, Antoine Winfield out of Minnesota could be the pick. However, the key is that only one true difference maker can be reasonably expected if the 49ers stay put.

That leads to every draft lover’s favorite pick: the trade down. What might they be able to get if they trade down? Each of the past three drafts included a draft night trade with at least one of the final two picks in the first round. In 2019, the Falcons gave up a second-round pick (45th overall) and a third-round pick (79th overall) in exchange for the 31st overall pick and a sixth-round pick. In 2018, Baltimore gave up a second-round pick (52nd overall), a fourth-round pick (125th overall), and a future second-round pick in exchange for the 32nd overall pick and a fourth-round pick (132nd overall). In 2017, John Lynch himself traded a second-round pick (34th overall) and a fourth-round pick (111th overall) for the 31st overall pick.

There are a couple of candidates for teams that may want to trade up into the back end of the first round to get a 5th year option on a quarterback. Indianapolis (34th and 44th overall), Detroit (35th overall), Los Angeles A (37th overall), Carolina (38th overall), and Tampa Bay (45th overall) could all want to jump the order to grab one of the fringe first round quarterbacks in Jacob Eason, Jordan Love, and Jake Fromm. What would a few of these trades look like?

49ers trade 31 and 190 to Tampa Bay for 45 and 76

Original picks - Gladney, Fuller, and Gibson

New picks - Winfield (45), Saahdiq Charles (76) (OL, LSU), and Lamar Jackson (138) (CB, Nebraska)

While the 49ers are able to secure a pair of picks that can more reliably provide difference makers as rookies, the quantity of picks does not change in this situation. By moving back and selecting Winfield instead of Gladney, the 49ers are in better position to draft a tackle who could easily succeed at guard. With safety out of the way, the 49ers are able to draft a more raw, but lengthy cornerback with their first fifth-round pick who has great zone ability and is a monster in the red zone. This is the perfect clay for a guy like Richard Sherman to mold.

49ers trade 31 to Miami for 56, 70, and 165

Original picks - Gladney and Cleveland

New picks - Bryce Hall (56) (CB, Virginia), Denzel Mims (70) (WR, Baylor), Yasir Durant (165) (OL, Missouri), and Levonta Taylor (194) (CB, Florida State)

This is a slight alteration of the Baltimore trade, having a present third-round pick instead of a future second, and a sixth-round pick instead of the exchanging of fourths. This gets the 49ers two additional picks (a third-round pick and an extra sixth-round pick) by taking a moderate step back in the draft order.

Luckily for San Francisco, the cornerback class is deep this year. Even after moving back 25 spots, the 49ers are able to get a strong outside cornerback who would have been a first-round pick if not for a leg injury, a wide receiver who is a little more than simply a deep threat in Mims (but still a very strong deep threat), and a large yet nimble tackle who has short arms and might be best as a guard in Durant. With a speedy receiver off the wishlist, this opens up the 49ers first seventh-round pick to take an underrated slot cornerback who has the potential to be even better than K'Waun Williams in Taylor. This strategy has some risk, as none of these players are sure things, but it has the chance to be a huge boom.

49ers trade 31 to Detroit for 35 and 99

Original picks - Gladney and Cleveland

New picks - Reagor (35), Michael Ojemudia (99) (CB, Iowa), and Jonah Jackson (194) (IOL, Ohio State)

This option gives the 49ers the most dynamic receiving threat that could be available to them. A true deep threat that uses his deep ability to do wonders on underneath routes. In addition to being a deep threat, Reagor can be a YAC monster, which fits right with what Shanahan wants. Even in this scenario, the 49ers are still are able to grab a cornerback with the skill set to excel in this scheme, as well as an athletic interior offensive lineman to take over for Tomlinson or Person.

Ultimately, you can prefer any one of these four scenarios. Free agency will likely dictate how aggressive the 49ers need to be in trading back, but they will absolutely have options to do just that.

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