ESPN’s Chris Mortensen mentioned recently that there is some buzz around the league that the San Francisco 49ers could be looking to trade up in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Mortensen went on to suggest that the target could be Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans. While the 49ers would most likely have to trade up into the top 10 to get Evans, it’s a move the team should make.
San Francisco has equipped themselves with six of the first 100 picks, which gives the them more than enough ammunition to move up in the first round and still have enough selections near the top of the draft to fill other needs. General manager Trent Baalke has proven he is willing to move up for a prospect in the past, as he has done so to secure the talents of players like Anthony Davis, Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid.
In Evans, the 49ers would be getting a receiver whose ceiling is that of a No. 1 option. Evans has the size (6-foot-5) to be able to become a red zone threat, and he could help the 49ers improve their efficiency inside the 20-yard line. He also has the speed to stretch the field which is a trait neither Michael Crabtree nor Anquan Boldin currently possess. Having someone on the outside who can get deep and take the top off of the defense would open up endless opportunities for San Francisco’s other playmakers.
Evans also gives the 49ers a safety net past 2014, as Crabtree will be a free agent and Boldin’s salary increases significantly in the second year of his current deal. Should the team part ways with one or both of them, they have a built in replacement and would not have to overspend in the free agent market.