COMMENTARY | University of West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin, who most likely will get selected in the top-20 picks of the upcoming draft, will visit the San Francisco 49ers next month, reports the Sacramento Bee, which cites a league source.
There are two ways to take this news:
1. The 49ers are uncharacteristically being open with the media and have generously tipped their hand about whom they're targeting in the first round.
2. The 49ers are using reverse psychology, hoping other teams think they are interested in Austin and will trade up for him in the first round. That way, Austin might get drafted a little higher than he should, and the player the 49ers really want drops to them.
Option No.2 sounds right for two reasons.
Reason No.1: Tavon Austin makes no sense for the 49ers in the first round. The 49ers' three biggest needs are in the secondary - big-bodied cornerback, slot cornerback and free safety. Austin plays wide receiver. The 49ers drafted wide receiver A.J. Jenkins with their first round pick last year.
If the 49ers trade up for Austin, they're telling everyone Jenkins is a bust. It's doubtful the 49ers want to send that message at this time. They're going to give Jenkins at least one more season to prove himself or not prove himself.
Reason No.2: The 49ers need to play the reverse psychology game. They have the 31st pick in the first round, and there are only a few defensive backs who have first-round grades - Alabama CB Dee Milliner, Florida State CB Xavier Rhodes, Texas FS Kenny Vaccaro and Washington CB Desmond Trufant. It's highly probable all four will be gone when it's the 49ers' turn to pick. If the 49ers can pump up the draft stock of a wide receiver or anyone other than those four defensive backs, they stand to gain.What the 49ers shouldn't do is telegraph their interest in those four defensive backs before the draft, and you can bet they won't.
Grant Cohn covers the 49ers daily. He writes the "Inside the 49ers" blog for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and has written columns and features for CSNBayArea.com
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