How a Deebo Samuel trade might affect 49ers NFL draft plans

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The 49ers had a sizable wrench thrown into their offseason plans when wide receiver Deebo Samuel requested a trade. With about a week left until the NFL draft, moving on from the All-Pro wide receiver changes the dynamic of San Francisco’s 2022 draft in two significant ways.

First, assuming the deal happens before the first round of the draft on April 28, they’d have additional capital to work with this year. They don’t pick until No. 61, and any deal for Samuel would likely mean at least one selection prior to that. The team may even require a first-round pick in order to pry the star receiver away from them.

Having a first-round choice would dramatically alter how the team could attack this year’s draft, and their priorities could shift with more premium talent available to them that early in the draft.

Priorities and team needs are the second thing that gets altered in a Samuel deal. Losing Samuel would launch wide receiver to the top of a list of 49ers’ draft needs.

They’ll still need help on the offensive line and in the secondary, but they have bodies at those two spots who could conceivably work for a season. At wide receiver they’d be extremely thin without Samuel atop the depth chart.

With Samuel gone, Brandon Aiyuk would be their No. 1 receiver. Jauan Jennings would be No. 2, and after that it’s a huge question mark. As good as Jennings was to close last year, the 49ers wouldn’t want to go into a year with him as the No. 2 WR on the roster.

Assuming they’d fetch a first-round choice for Samuel, it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t go find his replacement with that pick even if the player isn’t a one-for-one replacement for him.

Even if they don’t get a deal done they could push receiver up their list of priorities knowing a deal may come down eventually. It’d make sense for them to add a player at the position anyway given the lack of quality depth, but now they have to strongly consider it if a good WR prospect falls to them at No. 61.

The draft has mostly gone by the wayside this offseason with the 49ers holding no first-round pick and the Jimmy Garoppolo saga overshadowing everything. Now it could get very, very interesting.

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