Before I begin, let's get one thing straight. I honestly don't think Mike Nolan will make any deal up to the #2 pick for three reasons: 1) This is the season for lying (also known as "speculation). 95% of what's thrown out there this week is BS and I think this is one of those things, particular coming from ESPN; 2) Football-wise, the high draft choices would add considerable depth to a team looking to build for the long term; 3) Crazy Raider owner-wise, there is a very real chance that Oakland could either select Johnson or trade with Tampa who would then take Johnson #1. While we could still get a quality talent like Joe Thomas, that seems like too much of a risk in my opinion. And maybe seeing the 49ers move up to #2 would motivate Al Davis to take Johnson or deal with TB to screw us.
In deciding whether to trade up for the #2 pick, let's assume that we could definitely get him there and that he's a sure thing, whether that be the next Marvin Harrison, Torry Holt or any other great "good guy" receiver. Literally EVERYBODY considers him the surest thing in this draft, so we'll assume that to be the case.
The question remains, is it worth it? Discussion here has centered on whether the team can consider itself "one piece" away and give up multiple high picks. While it's clear that the team has several areas to improve upon, I'll play devil's advocate and say that maybe CJ could be the one guy who could put us way over the top.
If we make a deal of this year's first and second round picks, along with next year's first round pick, we are still left with two 3rds and four 4ths. While the talent takes a step down, a solid draft could still be had in those rounds, whether we grab a Soliai, one of the various guards sure to be available or some linebacker depth.
By adding Johnson, our offense could truly step up to the next level. Alex Smith would truly have more than enough weapons at his disposal. Our running game would be set and we'd suddenly be quite deep at receiver. Our receiver corp becomes Johnson, Lelie, and Battle with Davis at tight end. While Vernon Davis is creating mismatches all over the field, Johnson could fill the role of the big #1 that occupies the other team's top corner. Lelie could stretch the field while Battle would be a great option as a possession receiver doing the dirty work that often goes unappreciated.
We would still have enough picks to garner defensive depth, which the team clearly needs. If we could get Soliai we get a great option to combine with Aubrayo Franklin at nose tackle. If we land one of the big guards we can start the process of replacing Larry Allen when he retires or moves on. Linebackers can always be found in the late rounds and we still need some depth there.
While I still think the idea of us moving up to take Johnson is a pipe dream, I think that we could move up to take him without really hurting ourselves in the long term. We're not one piece away from the top, but adding Johnson would put the offense in position to go from adequate outside of Frank Gore, to truly mind boggling in all aspects of the game. The NFC West is one big horse race to the finish, and we are definitely going to need the horses to win. We've improved the defense considerably this off-season, and while there is still work to do there, a potential talent like Calvin Johnson is a difference maker a team needs.
[EDITOR'S NOTE] - Unrelated, but I wanted to move this info up near the top: The Jets took Brandon Mebane with their mock draft pick. I'm leaning towards Yanda right now.