Today's post by Kevin_49er_draft_mocker about Tavon Austin, as well as the news from recent Pro Days at LSU and South Carolina got me thinking: The Niners have constructed an amazingly enviable roster and have put themselves in a position to take risks like no other team in the league. They have an over-abundance of draft picks, a very strong roster, just one or two obvious needs in starting lineup, and all the makings of being a SB contender over at least next couple of years.
With all that in mind, should the Niners go for risky, but potentially "home run" picks with couple of their selections? Or, should they play it safe with some combination of BPA value picks and the usual down & out trades, which generally mean staying the course? Before you decide, let me elaborate on the swing-for-home-run hypothetical.
One can make the argument that the Niners are playing with house money. We acquired the 34th pick for Alex Smith when no one thought it was possible. Baalke shrewdly acquired thePanthers' third round pick after trading down and acquiring extra picks in 2012. He also acquired a fifth rounder from Indianapolis with multiple trades from the same original pick that got him Panthers' third rounder. Clearly, these are extra picks that we did not reasonably expect to have until those events happened. (I know the house money argument is artificially constructed, but since we are dealing with hypothetical situations, just play along with me)
So the question is: What can we accomplish if we either package these house money picks to trade up or down in this draft? Well, here are some players that could qualify as "swing for home runs" in 2013:
- Potentially falling defensive studs like Star Lotulelei or Jarvis Jones in Round One (due to medical concerns)
- Potentially game changing offensive playmaker Tavon Austin in Round One
- Relatively inexperienced freak athlete Margus Hunt in Round Two
- College stars with injury concerns like Marcus Lattimore or Tank Carradine in Round Three
- Character concerns like Tyrann Mathieu and Da'Rick Rogers, or motor concern like Alex Okafor in Round Three
(I don't want to get overly prescriptive with what a "swing for home run" means or precisely which player qualifies as one. if you think that there are other home-run players in this draft, feel free to add them in the comments).
Now, let's consider some potential scenarios involving our "house money" picks & players listed above:
1. We could trade away all three picks to get around pick 20 in Round One.This might get us in range for Austin or a falling defensive stud with medical concern like Jarvis Jones.
2. We could trade down from 34th spot multiple times and use the fifth rounder to acquire up to two additional third round picks. With these two additional picks plus Carolina's third rounder, we could try to get Mathieu AND Lattimore AND Carradine. (or any three-man combination of those three and Da'Rick Rogers, Alex Okafor and insert your home run choice).
3. We could play it relatively straight and take Hunt at 34. Then take either Mathieu, Lattimore or Carradine with Carolina's third rounder. (There might be room to trade down few spots from 12th pick in third round and still pick up one of those three guys).
4. Trade the 34th pick for next year's first and hope it falls in the top half of the first round, which would return good value. A similar thing can be done with Carolina's third rounder in order to obtain a high second rounder in 2014. (I am guessing most of us would be OK with this type of result).
There are countless scenarios with these picks, but the basic question is the same: Would you want to take a risk and try to turn the Alex Smith trade plus Baalke's shrewd trades into potential future stars? It is a bit of a boom or bust proposition because there are no guarantees with guys like Hunt, Lattimore, Mathieu, Carradine or Rogers. They could become Pro Bowlers or be relegated to being draft busts. But it would sure feel good to have them on our team next season.