We all knew the 49ers were going to trade up and grab and corner or receiver in the first round. It only made sense, right?
Instead, general manager Trent Baalke elected to stand pat and grab a guy that could contribute right away in Jimmie Ward, a safety in name and a nickel corner by trade. He will compete for the nickel job right away - a spot that's on the field for roughly 60 percent of the defense's snaps - while being groomed to be the eventual replacement to Antoine Bethea at the back end of the defense.
Why didn't the 49ers trade up for one the draft's top corners or wideouts? The value didn't add up, especially with Ward as a possibility at 30 in Trent Baalke's mind.
"The price of doing business into the top 10 or close to the top 10 becomes pretty stiff. And you're giving up a lot of football players to go get one football player. And if you look at history…a lot of times that works against you," said Baalke.
Coming into the draft, the 49ers were in a great position with 11 picks overall and 6 picks in the first three rounds. And now that they believe they've addressed perhaps their most pressing need in the secondary without dealing away any of those selections, they can fully maximize the potential in the draft, which many believe lies in the middle rounds.
Expect Friday to be a big day for San Francisco. Because they can maneuver around the second and third rounds freely using their two second-round picks and three thirds as currency. They also have five late-round picks Saturday to work with.
Only five receivers went in the first round, while many believed as many as eight could go. That leaves plenty of talent on the board at the position, including players like Cody Latimer, Jordan Matthews, Marqise Lee, Davante Adams, Bruce Ellington, Martavis Bryant and others.
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