Between the mock drafts, the NFL Scouting Combine, pro-days, the youtube clips, scouting reports, etc, etc...Things start to take shape right about now. That is, what those of us who aren't NFL personnel employees feel will happen in the top ten of the Draft, come April.
Some use the term that picks are "solidifying", such as many mocks now placing Blaine Gabbert as the #1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers. We also get a clearer concensus of which players we feel are worthy of our selection in the first round. For the 49ers, the feeling seems to be that Patrick Peterson, Von Miller, Robert Quinn, or Prince Amukamara would be acceptable picks with the number seven selection - depending on who you talk to.
Personally I rate them: Peterson, Miller...and I'm not super comfortable with Prince or Quinn at seven. This begs the question then: What happens if none of "our" players are on the board when the 49ers go on the clock? What would it take to make you consider trading down, and where would you go?
If none of my top three guys are there at seven, I think I want to trade back. Not too far, probably into the early teens, but it depends on who's left on the board and where I think they'll get drafted, if I want them. Obviously I'm not the one making these decisions, but we all play GM pre-draft, so insert-fart-noise.
Let's say that the following guys are taken top-six, in no particular order:
Again, I'm not completely sold on Prince or Quinn at seven, but I like them enough to take them later if I can trade down and get something in return. Plenty of teams will value these guys high enough to want to move up and grab them at where the 49ers pick, I feel.
You can play with the top-six guys all you want (and please do in the comments) as well as your trade-down scenarios...but let's keep them to one trade down, nothing fancy. I'm using this draft-pick-value-chart. Dispute it or suggest your own if you wish.
Maybe I'd move down to the 11th pick, swapping with Houston and also picking up their second round pick, number 42 overall. We might have to throw a sixth rounder or so in there as well, but we've got plenty of last-day picks.
Let's say the following guys are taken from seven thru ten, in no particular order:
That leaves guys like Cam Jordan, Prince, Ryan Kerrigan, JJ Watt, Brandon Harris, etc. who we could select, would be immediate impact players (or should be), and we also netted a high second-round pick to boot.
We could use that additional second to select Christian Ponder, for instance, or to move up back into the bottom of the first round if we think we need to do so. Point is that if you're not entirely comfortable with the guys left at your pick, and your two or three guys you targeted there are gone, I think moving down is the right thing to do.