Deebo Samuel trade request makes 49ers 2022 NFL Draft team of intrigue

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Deebo's trade request makes 49ers team of intrigue at NFL draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 49ers were supposed to be an afterthought at the 2022 NFL Draft. After all, they made their splash last year when they traded up to No. 3 overall to pick quarterback Trey Lance.

Wednesday's news that Deebo Samuel has asked the 49ers for a trade and no longer wants to play in San Francisco changes that equation.

The 49ers, who don't pick this year until late in the second round, now have become one of the most intriguing teams in the lead-up to the NFL draft.

At the very least, news of Samuel's trade request leaking one week before the draft will smoke out offers and give the 49ers a good sense of what's out there. That is if they agree to honor Samuel's request.

This offseason, two elite wide receivers -- Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill -- were traded. The Green Bay Packers received a 2022 first-round pick and 2022 second-round selection from the Las Vegas Raiders for Adams. The Miami Dolphins sent five draft picks, including a 2022 first and 2022 second, to the Chiefs for Hill.

The New York Jets were prepared to offer the Chiefs the No. 35, 38 and 69 picks for Hill.

If the 49ers do plan to entertain offers for Samuel, we know their asking price will be astronomical. Samuel had a breakout season in 2021, as he was an elite wide receiver for the first nine games before transforming into a powerhouse wide-back. Any notion that Samuel's success is a product of his "wide-back" usage is incorrect.

From Weeks 1 through 8 last season, Samuel averaged an NFL-best 113.0 scrimmage yards per game, and did so on 80 targets and just six carries. In the final 11 games of the season, Samuel averaged 105.2 scrimmage yards per game on 80 carries and just 53 targets.

Let's take it one step further. Samuel finished the season with 1,405 receiving yards last season, averaging 18.2 yards per catch on an average depth of target of 8.4 yards. Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase finished the season with 1,455 yards, averaging 18.0 yards per reception with an ADOT of 12.6.

In short, Samuel produces at an elite wide receiver level, and the 49ers will demand compensation on that level. That puts the 49ers as a sleeper team that could move up somewhere in the middle of the first round if they receive the right offer for Samuel.

Several teams, from Washington at No. 11 all the way to New England at No. 21, need a No. 1 wide receiver and might be willing to part with their first-round pick and further draft capital.

RELATED: 49ers have no easy solution to Deebo trade saga

If the 49ers don't think they can get Samuel back to the negotiating table, they could look to the first round -- one which is loaded with wide receiver talent -- and try to flip Samuel for a swing at the likes of Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Treylon Burks or Jameson Williams.

San Francisco has a good roster but needs to help at cornerback, safety and offensive line depth. Could Samuel fetch a first-, second-, and fourth-round pick, as the Chiefs received in exchange for Hill? Even an Adams-like package would give the 49ers three picks in the top 61 and a chance at one of the top prospects in the draft.

The 49ers hold contractual leverage over Samuel and don't have to trade him. But with one week to go until the draft, they all of a sudden have become one of the teams to watch as the first round nears.

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