It was reported in the last 24 hours that Alabama RB Trent Richardson, widely considered the best prospect at his position in the 2012 draft, had a minor knee surgery and thus would not participate in the on-field work at the NFL Scouting Combine. Richardson had been regarded as a potential top-ten lock with his combination of skills.
While the procedure has been described as "minor", it still raises some concerns about drafting a guy who has had a knee issue. You'll recall that Frank Gore wasn't drafted in the first few rounds due to multiple knee injuries, something Richardson hasn't dealt with to that extent, but his stock will likely still be affected.
This begs the question: If Richardson falls out of the top-ten and is available closer to where the 49ers pick, would/should they trade up in order to select Gore's eventual replacement?
Most of us expect for a back to be brought-in to compete with Anthony Dixon and many of us go so far as to predict that the team will want to look for someone they feel can develop into a "bell-cow" at the position for when Gore starts to deteriorate as an every-down runner.
Picking 30th means even moving into the teens would be rather meteoric. The team also has what some view as a more pressing need at WR...but with the focus on the run and how much of the 49ers offense has been "carried" by Gore over the years, it's not too hard to envision the team valuing the position very highly.