With the draft pushed back an extra two weeks this season, the spin cycle teams use to create facades is in full swing. And eight days out, speculation is running rampant on what teams could do in the first round next Thursday.
For the San Francisco 49ers - armed with 11 picks of currency, including six in the first 100 selections - they appear to be an obvious trade-up candidate for a few different reasons. They will have "red-shirt" players Marcus Lattimore and Tank Carradine joining the fold, along with Quinton Patton and Quinton Dial who both played sparingly in their rookie season in 2013. There simply aren't enough spots on the roster that's already regarded as one of the best in the league.
Through various trades and their work in recent drafts, the 49ers have found a way to accumulate a slew of picks in one of the deepest drafts in recent memory. Also, it happens to be a deep draft for receivers - with as many as seven wideouts projected to go in the first round - and cornerback, which could be the team's most pressing need this offseason after losing two starters - Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown - in free agency.
Add the precedent of trading up for safety Eric Reid in the first round of last year's draft and it's clear Trent Baalke doesn't have any reservations about making a deal to move up for a player he likes.
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One of those players could be another LSU product in receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who is becoming one of the most talked about players in the draft. According to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, the 49ers are taking a long look at Beckham in a similar way they did Reid a year ago.
There's no doubt Beckham isn't the only trade-up candidate the 49ers are doing their due diligence on. Their draft board in the first round has been set for the better part of two months, so they've had plenty of time to do their necessary digging. But if you buy into the hype surrounding Beckham - who's emerging at the No. 3 receiver in the class behind Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans - then the 49ers might have to jump way, way up in the first round to get him.
By most accounts, Watkins and Evans are likely to be taken in the top 10. Which means Detroit (picking at 10), the Giants (picking at 12), the Rams (picking at 13) could all be taking a hard look at Beckham just as the 49ers are.
If they were dead set on moving into the top 10, they certainly have the picks to do it without completely mortgaging the draft. Using the draft trade chart, the 10th pick is worth 1,300 points. With two second-round picks and three thirds, it would not be difficult for San Francisco to find an appropriate package of picks to move up. Their first four tradable picks (No. 100 in the third round is compensatory and cannot be traded) are worth 1,581 points according to the draft chart.
In theory, the 49ers could move picks No. 30, 56, 77 and a late-round pick or a future mid-round pick to move to 10. In doing so, they would still own picks in the second round (61) and third round (94, 100). Moving up any further would be more costly, but still not out of the realm of possibility. But it's important to point out they could move up to No. 10 without sacrificing a future first-round pick, in theory. Not every team uses the same draft value chart.
Sitting at 31 this time last year, the 49ers moved up 13 spots to No. 18 overall in a draft day trade with the Cowboys. It cost them that pick at 31 and a third rounder, No. 74 overall.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said Wednesday he has fielded calls from teams looking to move up in the first round. As expected, the 49ers were rumored to be one of those teams inquiring about moving up to Baltimore's 17th-overall pick. Could Baalke looking to move up 13 spots two straight years? Perhaps. The cost would be virtually the same as last year's trade.
If they did, there's a chance it wouldn't be for Beckham, who could be gone to another receiver-needy team at that point. If they did trade with the Ravens, there's a better chance it would be for a corner, perhaps Darqueze Dennard, Justin Gilbert, Bradley Roby or Kyle Fuller.
Still, with 11 picks to work with the 49ers are in a great spot.
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