It’s almost a foregone conclusion that the San Francisco 49ers will trade up in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Reports are running rampant that the Niners are interested in trading up for a top-15 pick to get an impact player.
I believe that this will happen for many reasons. One, the 49ers have the most picks in the draft — 13 — and have a stacked roster that does not have 13 roster spots available. Secondly, San Fran has additional picks in the second and third rounds, so if they decide to trade up for a top-15 pick, they will still have picks in the those rounds to fill other needs.
Finally, 49ers GM Trent Baalke loves to manipulate the draft board and is always looking toward the future. He knows that star DE Justin Smith is in the final year of his contract, is 34-years-old and that after his injury last year, their defense was not the same. Expect the 49ers to trade up for an impact defensive lineman or consider Tavon Austin if he drops to 13.
The most logical team for the Niners to trade up with is none other than the New York Jets. The Jets own two first-round picks (No. 9 and No. 13) and have some major holes to fill up and down their roster. The Jets could conceivably select their draft crush at No. 9 and trade back with the 49ers at 13 and pick up an additional second and third round pick — a move beneficial to both teams.
If the 49ers are trying to trade up to select an impact defensive lineman, selection 13 would be ideal. If a player like Sheldon Richardson or Star Lotulelei drops, the Niners could catch him. Also, they would leapfrog over the Carolina Panthers, who are looking for defensive help and are interested in Richardson.
San Francisco figures to be the most active team in the draft and will be trading up and down the draft board over the next three days. This is an exciting time for the franchise, and a draft that can mold the future and help the 49ers sustain their recent success.
Merry Draftmas to all, and to all a good night!