The Cleveland Browns weren’t the only team that wanted Odell Beckham from the New York Giants.
Once the supremely talented Beckham was available, the San Francisco 49ers inquired. And 49ers general manager John Lynch said his team’s No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft became the dealbreaker, Lynch told KNBR (via Matt Barrows of The Athletic).
"I think, ironically, the fact that we had the No. 2 pick made it more difficult because they wanted that badly,” Lynch told KNBR. “They wanted two No. 1s. And we weren't willing to part with that. It was too valuable of a pick."
Had the 49ers been lower in the draft, maybe Beckham would have gone to San Francisco. But the price of the second overall pick was too much.
49ers balked at trading No. 2 pick for Odell Beckham
The 49ers tried. NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo added that the 49ers were willing to swap picks with the Giants, moving from No. 2 to No. 6, but the teams couldn’t figure out the rest of the compensation.
The question is, would you rather have Beckham or the No. 2 overall pick? Assuming Kyler Murray goes No. 1, to the Arizona Cardinals or whatever team trades up with them, the second pick will likely be Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa, or perhaps another elite prospect like Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams or Kentucky pass rusher Josh Allen.
Beckham is clearly more of a sure thing. He’s a superstar. Any draft pick comes with risk. But someone like Bosa is younger and cheaper on a rookie deal. And Beckham doesn’t come without baggage; there’s a reason a player of his talent was being shopped by the Giants.
Let’s assume for fun that the 49ers’ No. 2 overall pick would have been enough to trump the Browns’ package of the No. 17 pick, a third-round pick and safety Jabrill Peppers (who the Giants are selling as a second first-round pick, even though it doesn’t quite work that way). The value of the No. 2 pick might have backed the Giants off their desire to get multiple firsts.
Then it becomes a great debate: Would you rather have Beckham or Bosa?
49ers were ‘definitely in it’
Beckham and Jimmy Garoppolo would have been a fun combination in the Bay Area. And it sounds like the 49ers were close.
“We were definitely in it,” owner Jed York said, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. “We were aggressive. But I think (the Giants) wanted different things than we had to offer. I think it would have been very hard for us to just give up a first-round pick and not get a ton in return, other than just the player, knowing that the second pick in the draft is a very, very valuable pick.”
Teams often overvalue draft picks. That’s why we often see trades in which the player clearly is more valuable than the picks being traded for him. But the math changes the higher in the draft we go. And the second pick, given the value of rookie deals and the type of prospect available, is incredibly valuable even with the inherent risks.
But it will be interesting to track what ends up as the better option, Beckham or the player the 49ers get with the second pick.
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