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49ers NFL draft strategy: The case for trading back from 1st-round pick

There’s a pretty glaring priority atop the 49ers’ list of needs in this year’s NFL draft. They have to find a starting-caliber right tackle to work as an upgrade on RT Colton McKivitz. At worst they have to bring in a player or two to act as legitimate competition for that starting job after effectively handing it to McKivitz last season.

Despite a deep offensive tackle class, finding one that’s likely to slide down to the 49ers at the No. 31 overall pick isn’t necessarily easy. Typically we’ve explored options where San Francisco trades up for that player, but there’s a pretty strong case to be made that trading down might actually bear more fruit.

It needs to be stated up top here that this isn’t advocating for a sizable trade down to the middle-to-late second round. However, if they’re able to slide back a few spots into Day 2 while accumulating either more Day 2 and/or early Day 3 draft capital, they could ultimately check their OT box and set themselves up to start filling other needs with higher-quality draft capital. The latter of those two things is the most important.

Should the 49ers hang out at No. 31 they could find themselves in a position where they’re reaching for a player just to check their top need. Trading back opens the door for them to still get a tackle prospect they liked at 31 while also positioning themselves to check off some other boxes that have flown under the radar some in the lead up to this year’s draft.

While OT is the obvious top need, the 49ers also need to start restocking their cupboard with players they can lean on to help build out a Super Bowl roster in the next two or three years. Doing that via their typical assortment of picks hasn’t been super helpful the last two drafts.

This is a year where they need to be aggressive in moving around the board outside of Day 1 to target players they really like. Whether that’s on Day 2 or early in Day 3 matters less than just ensuring they’re targeting specific players and using their newly-acquired draft capital via their initial trade back to start filling out some of the holes left over from uninspiring picks from the last couple years. Trading back and utilizing those picks to start moving up elsewhere in the draft and prioritizing quality over quantity across all three days would make a ton of sense for the 49ers given where they’re at in their Super Bowl window.

 

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire