Yesterday, we had some discussion about the 49ers setting up a visit with West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin. Today we have a little more fuel for the Tavon Austin fire. Over at NFL.com, Daniel Jeremiah put together some discussion on who might trade down and who might trade up. He based his comments on "what I know and what I'm hearing". He included the 49ers as one team looking to move up:
The 49ers are right on the doorstep of winning a championship. Despite some key losses in free agency, they still possess one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. And they have an astounding 14 selections in the upcoming draft. There is no way 14 rookies will be able to make this roster. It makes sense for Trent Baalke and company to either trade a few of this year's picks for future selections or aggressively package some picks and move up for an impact player. After losing two starting defensive linemen in free agency (Ricky Jean-Francois and Isaac Sopoaga), an aggressive move into the top 15 shouldn't be out of the question if a player like Star Lotulelei slides.
After that post, Around The League posted a round-up of NFL Draft trade rumors and they managed to work in our 49ers:
San Francisco's desire to climb from No. 31 might boil down to two words: Tavon Austin. The West Virginia wide receiver will visit the 49ers for a pre-draft visit, according to the Sacramento Bee. NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell believes the electrifying Austin might not escape the top 10, but with five picks in the first three rounds and 14 overall, San Francisco has the fire power to make a move.
The Mountaineer would bring some serious speed to the team, but if he is in fact looking at a top-10 or top-15 draft position, do the 49ers really work their way up to him? There is no question the team has the assets to move up next month. They also have the ability to move down, sidewise and any other which way.
I continue to believe the team will look more to dealing for 2014 picks, but all of us are basing this off rumor and speculation. After all, teams have been known to throw up a smokescreen or two this time of year. For example, one of the latest rumors is that the Kansas City Chiefs might suddenly be intrigued by QB Geno Smith. This comes after they unloaded picks for Alex Smith, signed Chase Daniel as a fairly pricey backup, and all but handed Luke Joeckel the keys to the front door. This would seem to be a poorly attempted smokescreen to drum up interest in a trade for the first pick.
The 49ers are a team that seem to be more keen on keeping their cards close to their vest. Of course, that is based on their occasionally cryptic press conferences, so even that is speculation on our part. A lot of it reminds of comments we often hear about "Player X is moving up (or down) draft boards." How much can we really trust that information. After all, teams have a pretty strong interest in convincing other teams that they are high on a player they really have no interest in. That can convince a team ahead to actually take that player, or a team behind to trade up and blow some assets on a player they could have had with a little patience.
A lot of people seem to like the idea of Austin to the 49ers. They think he provides another unique weapon that could help Rom and & Co. exploit opposing defenses. An offense can never have too many weapons, so if this is a smokescreen, it strikes me as being a little bit better than the Chiefs with Geno Smith.
What say you? Smoke screen, truth, some mix of both?