Also keep in mind that the Falcons traded up from 22, 49ers would be trading up from 30, that's like another extra 3rd rounder thrown in.
Would people be comfortable trading 2 1st rounders, a 2nd rounder, a 3rd rounder and a couple mid-rounders for a guy who is talented, but for all we know, could be a huge bust. Stranger things have happened. That would be enough to cripple this team long-term. If you want to stay ahead of the salary cap crunch where you inevitably have to start cutting people that you REALLY want to keep, you have to keep; reloading through the draft, every single season. If you look at New England, even though they've had some bad picks, their philosophy has been to keep pushing it forward, a 1st rounder next year is better than a 2nd rounder this year, as such they've been able to keep themselves consistently competitive even though they've had a lot of misses.
I like what Baalke has done, if he really likes a guy, he'll trade up but the damage is confined to that draft. The 49ers liked Reid, they gave up a 3rd round pick in the same draft to acquire him, they didn't cost themselves any picks in this draft. The key to success I think is continually having extra picks to work with, to keep building for future drafts, to have your options open.
When the 49ers finally fell apart, a lot of people blamed the salary cap and to an extent that was true but what was seemingly ignored is that they were drafting like crap and as a result, couldn't beat that salary cap crunch when it came and it hit pretty hard. From the mid-90's on the 49ers drafting was really hit or miss with some badly bungled picks.
1995, with the exception of Stokes, who never played up to his draft position, was an epic bust.
1996 featured Owens and the rest were all failures in the NFL.
1997 they had a total of 3 picks and Druckenmiller was a huge bust.
1998 was a relatively good year for the most part even though McQuarters only turned into a quality player after he had left SF.
1999, epic bust.
2000 was a solid draft.
2001, with the exception of Carter and Johnson, huge bust.
And on and on, you need to do well in terms of the draft and you need to constantly have a supply of picks to reload your roster as you will keep losing guys to free agency, its inevitable but if you can draft decently, because nobody is ever perfect, even in Baltimore they've blown whole drafts, you can remain a winning team for a decade or longer with the right people in charge and I think the 49ers have that with Baalke who has proven to be an astute talent evaluator.
[ Edited by Phoenix49ers on Jan 22, 2014 at 4:25 PM ]