Why No. 6 overall pick in NFL draft could determine Jimmy Garoppolo’s future

·2 min read

It turns out the 49ers do have a vested interest in the first round of the 2022 draft despite not having a pick. The team could always trade up into the back of Round 1 if they want, but their intrigue on Day 1 of the draft begins with the first six picks.

MMQB’s Albert Breer on Sunday reported the Carolina Panthers had Ickey Ekwonu and Charles Cross, two of the top offensive tackles in this year’s class, in for top-30 visits. The Panthers hold the No. 6 overall pick.

So why does this matter for San Francisco? Because there’s a chance one of either Ekownu or Cross falls to Carolina, and if Carolina takes one of them, it opens the door for them to go after a veteran quarterback like Jimmy Garoppolo.

Carolina did host a slew of QBs on visits as Breer reported, but this is not supposed to be a particularly strong year for the position. Should the Panthers not be blown away by any of the signal callers they visited with, they could do what they can to build a competitive team this year and kick the young QB can down the road a year or two.

If they opt to not draft a quarterback, it opens up a spot for Garoppolo who could help them contend this year. Even if the value isn’t what they were hoping, the 49ers would much rather move their QB for a future pick than outright cut him.

Carolina taking an offensive tackle with the No. 6 pick doesn’t guarantee they’ll trade for Garoppolo, but it certainly opens the door a little wider, which is good news for San Francisco.