State of the 49ers: Pre-Draft Thoughts

Stewart M. Cockrell
Apr 14, 2016 at 8:56 AM

Thanks to the Los Angeles Rams, I have to rethink the whole article that was in my head. This morning, the Rams pulled off a blockbuster trade to move from the 15th spot in the upcoming 2016 draft to number one. The rumors are that the Rams will be looking to take a quarterback with the first overall pick and all signs are pointing to Jared Goff or Carson Wentz as being the selection. It is no secret that the Rams have been plagued with mediocre quarterback play since Marc Bulger left town in 2009.

Even more shocking is the ripple affect it will have on every mock draft in the country. The widely accepted line of thinking was that the Tennessee Titans would take Laremy Tunsil out of Mississippi to protect their franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Cleveland Browns would take Wentz or Goff with the second pick. However, this new development muddles the waters quite a bit.

I actually think that this move benefits the Browns in a way. I think that their hand was being forced to take a quarterback as logically a quarterback would have been the highest rated player left, coupled with it being a glaring need for the team. However, I now think the pressure is off of Cleveland and they can address other areas of their team with that second pick, and still look for quarterback value at the top of the second round. Assuming Wentz is gone at one, I don't think Goff goes to Cleveland simply because of concerns about hand size, divisional opponents, and weather in Cleveland. I could see them going Jalen Ramsey or Deforest Buckner with this pick and looking to a second tier QB like Cook or Prescott to back up RGIII. Hue Jackson has had some success with second round quarterback Andy Dalton and fifth round quarterback A.J. McCarron.

Out of the next four picks, there is only one team that it is semi plausible could take a quarterback and that is Dallas. We saw how much of a drop off this team had without Romo and that has to be concerning to the Cowboys. They likely are sitting where they can take their next quarterback and allow him to learn while Romo plays out his career. It makes sense on paper for them to take the lesser of the two quarterbacks remaining. They also make interesting trade partners for anyone trying to move up to take a quarterback. Logic says they will likely not deal with the Eagles due to division rivalry (unless they get a haul of picks) and outside of Buffalo at 19 and the Jets at 20 there are not a lot of quarterback hungry teams behind them except maybe Chicago. Another interesting trade partner for the Cowboys would be San Francisco as they have a history of trading picks. Denver simply doesn't have the draft capitol to move that far up without selling the future too much.

It leads to some interesting scenarios for the 49ers and what they might do. Let's assume that the quarterbacks do go one and two. That leaves some elite talent still on the board that could fall to the 49ers at seven. Under this scenario, I would say the next players off the board would be Tunsil, Bosa, Jack, and Elliott. By staying pat, the 49ers could then have a choice of Ramsey, Buckner, Lawson, or Stanley. My gut instinct if the draft plays out this way would be Baalke taking Buckner. He just seems like the pick we would make under these circumstances, even given the depth of defensive line in this draft. In fact, if the draft falls this way to the 49ers, I could see them actually trading back a few spots and still getting a great player.

Another thought is the 49ers will use some of their draft ammunition to move up. Assuming Wentz is the pick for the Rams and the 49ers are absolutely in love with Goff, it makes sense to try to move to three or four to make the selection. Let's assume the 49ers offer the number 7 pick this year, the number 68th pick and a 4th rounder next year to move up three spots. It might take a swap of 1st round picks next year as well, but I don't see the team giving up a first round pick next year to move three spots. In this case, the 49ers take Goff and he sits for a year while the 49ers try to figure out what they want to do with their quarterback position.

Honestly, I think a lot of this will depend on the Kaepernick situation over the next few weeks. While I still think the best place for CK7 is here in San Francisco, I don't think the 49ers would deal him until they were sure they got the quarterback they want in the draft. Even if no viable trade partner comes for Kaepernick, I think if Goff is there, the 49ers will likely select him and see what they have with the Kaepernick and Kelly marriage. Best case scenario is he jump starts his career and either remains our long term solution or is traded for a semi-king's ransom next year. Worst case is we cut him next year and move on with Goff.

At the end of the day, we will have to wait and see how it plays out because we don't really don't know how Trent Baalke's mind thinks. It wouldn't shock me in the least if Goff is there and he takes an offensive or defensive lineman. He values trench warfare and we lost a lot of battles in the trenches last season. The draft just got a lot more interesting thanks to the Rams. Assuming both the Rams and 49ers come away with the top two quarterbacks of this draft, it could make for an very interesting storyline over the next few seasons.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Nick
    Personally I think Baalke should have taken the same move the Rams did. Its obvious we need a QB and sitting 7th overall move up a few spots to get that QB! We have lots of draft picks but history shows Baalke hasn't drafted well the past few years. On the plus side we will probably end up picking in the top 5 again next year so we get another chance at a QB. Hate to be negative but it is reality. My only hope now is to get the best O lineman available at 7.
    Apr 15, 2016 at 7:35 AM
    Response: Honestly, I have a gut feeling that Trent needs a stellar draft to keep is job. He has missed a bit too much to keep his job. I'm not saying I want Chip Kelly calling the shots, but I could see this as a make or break year for TB
  • MikeC
    I am very pleased that the Rams will pick in the first round. Everyone knows that they will go quarterback and so will the Cowboys when they pick 5th. That will force the 49ers to pick defense. I truly hope that they get a great edge rusher or a middle linebacker. As a Niner fan I know we need to build on defense. Chip Kelly's offense system is a quick three and out which means our defense will be put to the test and spend more time on the field.
    Apr 14, 2016 at 5:22 PM
  • Edd
    I am totally OK entering 2016 season with Kaepernick & Gabbert on staff. Draft some OL and DL help, and let Chip Kelly do his magic with QB's that we already have.
    Apr 14, 2016 at 12:22 PM
  • Dan Flanigan
    I heartily agree with RishikeshA; our front office is ineffective . Why are we still in the dark regarding Anthony Davis and A Boldin?; wouldn't having a starting OT and WR impact our draft and planning strategy? Why weren't we (more) active in free agency? Why have we mishandled T.Carradine for so long? Do we really think Kilgore is resilient enough to be our C?
    Apr 14, 2016 at 12:07 PM
  • 49ersChuck
    Why not just build the team the way it should inside-out we take the best player available either O-line or D-line both are huge needs for the 49ers. I believe the Pick should be Tunsil if available he makes sense now and in the future. I know we have a need on defense but if Jack or Buckner are not available we have to take Tunsil, don't you think? Makes too much sense not to.
    Apr 14, 2016 at 10:44 AM
    Response: I think Tunsil would be a great pick, even if Anthony Davis comes back. But I think we need a pass rusher more to make our defense work better. With no elite talent in the secondary, we need to get to the QB better. And I think the team likes Brown at RT.
  • Longships
    Indeed this move by the Rams is precisely why mock drafts are meaningless speculation. There are mocks crawling out of the woodwork everywhere. And this is certainly not going to be the last pre-draft surprise move. If Baalke takes a defensive player or an o-line player in the first round, that would be a smart move. The 49ers do not need to take a "franchise QB" in this draft. If they don't build a strong o-line immediately, any QB they put on the field, is going to be planted on his a_s all game-every game. So, 49ers fans, don't fret about Goff; chances are if he goes to another team, he will live longer.
    Apr 14, 2016 at 10:32 AM
  • RishikeshA
    By the time this team makes a decision on going after Goff or Wentz the first round will be over.
    Apr 14, 2016 at 9:40 AM
  • Scott
    Why do you bother anyway ? That is just one fo the problems and waste of time with mock drafts. The second and equally as unpredictable is Trent Baalke. It is better than another Kaep article though. Writing on either is a waste of time in my opinion.
    Apr 14, 2016 at 9:37 AM
  • JRD
    "I think the best place for CK7 is here in San Francisco," That seems more like a comment that would be made by a Seahawks or Rams fan rather than the author of the 49ersWebzone. Kaepernick is well documented to be a terrible quarterback whose time in the NFL has passed. There is not a single defensive coordinator in the league who doesn't know how to contain and defeat Kaepernick. The marriage of Kaepernick and Kelly is a joke. Kelly is not a good NFL coach and Kaepernick is a failure as an NFL qb. 49er's are a best location for those two if you want the Niner's to continue losing.
    Apr 14, 2016 at 9:17 AM
    Response: That statement is more from a morbid curiosity of wanting to see Kelly and CK7 work together. Likely you are correct that it will be a dumpster fire and I tend to agree. Mostly I just think the best place for him to reignite his career is with us.

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