Alex Smith trade: Exploring the San Francisco 49ers next move

Ezra Shaw

With the impending trade of Alex Smith, we discuss what the San Francisco 49ers should do with their 15 draft picks.

By now the whole world knows Alex Smith is going to be a Kansas City Chief on March 12.

Looking back at his journey with the San Francisco 49ers, it's a wild thought - but a real one nonetheless. The 49ers agreed to deliver Smith for two draft picks: a second-rounder (2013) and a conditional third-rounder (2014).

With this deal, the 49ers will have a league-high 15 draft picks in the upcoming NFL draft in April. And since they have a surplus, it immediately puts San Francisco in the drivers seat to make a move.

Top-5 2013 selections:

Round 1: 31st overall

Round 2: 34th overall

Round 2: 61st overall

Round 3: 74th overall

Round 3: 93rd overall

The 49ers also have seven picks between rounds 4 and 7.

Needs: S, OLB, WR, DL, K, TE

San Francisco has the flexibility to do virtually anything. Let's take a look at a few theories the 49ers can engage in with their bundle of draft picks.

Theory 1: Trading Up

San Francisco is sitting pretty with their first five selections coming within the first 100 players taken. However, in between rounds 1-3, the 49ers may want to move up for a highly regarded prospect.

Unlike last year, they want to acquire NFL caliber starters in this draft. They have needs at multiple positions and are looking to upgrade. The 49ers can bet the house, trading up multiple times within the first 3 or 4 rounds to acquire five to six high quality players.

San Francisco can hypothetically walk away from this draft with several potential superstars on their hands. They could bring in a few groups like:

Ex. 1 - Keenan Allen, Matt Elam, Zach Ertz and Kawann Short

Ex. 2 - John Jenkins, Tavon Austin, Jonathan Cyprien and Desmond Trufant

These are just a couple of examples, but you get the picture.

Theory 2: Long-Term Stability

The 49ers are in a position to give themselves an edge in future drafts, including the highly anticipated 2014 class.

They do not have to be ultra-aggressive this year, and can rather trust their draft intuition, stay put and trade out to next year's draft. Even if they do trade up once, the 49ers will still have more draft picks than they need this year.

They will look to make sure they are just as set next year.

And with this non-aggressive approach, they would still be in a position to bring in excellent players at positions of need. They would also have enough mid-to-late rounders to gamble on names like Marcus Lattimore, Dustin Hopkins and Tyrann Mathieu.

Theory 3: Trade for Current Players

It did not take long for the Alex Smith-KC news to settle in before more trade rumors began to swirl.

With their plethora of 2013 draft picks and a $9.75 million cap figure cleared from 2013, many have suggested that the 49ers should trade for Percy Harvin or Darrelle Revis. With both players on the block and fitting team needs, it makes sense.

However, it would be a risky move with other players on San Francisco in need of extensions sooner rather than later.

Harvin and Revis have been banged up and will demand substantial deals from whatever team trades for them. The 49ers should not waste their picks on potentially defective players that may only be around for a year.

However, it is an option and according to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, it is one the 49ers are exploring. Cole reported that two sources claimed San Francisco has interest in the Jets' All-Pro corner. Revis is coming off a torn ACL and has become notorious for his outrageous salary demands.

Though, Cole's report states that the Niners would peruse this option, even if it were just for the year (vis-à-vis Deion Sanders in 1994).

Percy Harvin and Victor Cruz are other very interesting situations that 49ers could look into.

Theory 4: Trade Up Big-Time

In Theory 1, I mention San Francisco trading up, but mildly in a round-by-round basis. This theory differs in that it would mean one big trade early to get their guy, while being conservative for the rest of the draft.

This player would have to be a top-rated prospect at his position and also fill a need. The three positions this would be acceptable would be at defensive line, wide receiver and defensive back.

1. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR - Tennessee

2. Kenny Vaccaro, S - Texas

3. Dee Milliner, CB - Alabama

4. Sharrif Floyd, DL - Florida

These would take bold, bold trades by the 49ers. However, with each one of these players, you can plug them in right away and expect production. These are long-term solutions at positions of need and the risk may prove to be well worth the reward.

After facing the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship, they don't seem to be regretting trading up for Julio Jones to pair him with Roddy White. The Washington Redskins don't seem to regret trading up with St. Louis for Robert Griffin III either.

What do you think the 49ers should do?

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