San Francisco 49ers: pros and cons of trading up in draft

49ers General Manager Trent Baalke. Photo credit:

49ers General Manager Trent Baalke. Photo credit:

In 25 short days, the NFL draft will be upon us. A time when you see each team’s General Manager put it all on the line for his team. This is the time when poor teams are made good, and good teams are made great. One draft day decision can alter the outcome of the upcoming season tremendously.

Previously, I talked about how I believe the 49ers should trade up for a high first round pick and go for a game breaking wide receiver. I still stand by this statement, seeing as the 49ers have a multitude of draft picks to toy with in trades, but this could lead to mass repercussions for Trent Baalke and the rest of the organization. Here, I am going to expose the pros and cons of the 49ers trading up to snag a top receiver in the draft:


Create an offense that leaves defensive coordinators awake at night. The 49ers already boast a plethora of big names on offense such as Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis, and of course, Frank “The Tank” Gore. Already a frightening offense to prepare for, imagine adding names such as Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans or even Brandin Cooks to the 49ers arsenal.  All of these players are big plays waiting to happen every time they touch the ball. They could also open up more one-on-one situations for the veteran players on the 49ers because the defense has to worry about one of these young guns burning them deep.

Create depth at the wide receiver position. The 49ers struggled with the passing game when Michael Crabtree went down. Sure, Anquan Boldin stepped up big time for the team and Vernon Davis had a career year, but if those two were shut down on a play the ball would seldom be caught. Barring another injury to the 49ers receiving core (knock on wood), a stand out rookie could always jump in and fill the vacancy of a receiver if someone goes down.


Trade away the rest of the draft. If the 49ers were to trade up high enough to snag one of the top receivers in this year’s draft class, they would need to trade away a lot of their draft picks. Trading up to a high pick in the first round is not at all cheap. While the 49ers could get a difference maker on offense by trading up, they could lose the ability to build depth at other positions in this draft. Luckily for the 49ers, they have built one of the deepest rosters over the past few years and don’t have a major position they need to fill, but there are certain positions where a team can never have enough players.

What if the pick is a bust. How often do we hear about top five talents becoming draft busts in the NFL? Too often if you ask me. Receivers are right up there with quarterbacks as the most common busts. As sure fire superstars as these players seem now, you never know if they will be able to handle the lifestyle and workload of being in the NFL. If the 49ers give up most of their draft picks on one wide out and he turns out to be a bust, then the 49ers could harm their team in the long run if they are giving up potentially picking other players for one highly projected receiver.

I believe while this is a risky move, trading up in the draft is a move the 49ers need to make. They have as much depth on their team as any team in the league right now, but they need one more offensive play maker to put them over the top. They don’t need to build their team by drafting a multitude of players; they need one more super star to help them hoist the Lombardi Trophy in 2014.