Earlier this week, a Jason Cole report mentioned the Niners may be attempting to trade up to 13 or 14. Even if this was based on legitimate information, this may mean only that Baalke placed a call to the Jets and Panthers, didn't hear anything he liked, and has already closed the door on the possibility of trading up to these spots. However, I thought it might be fun to try and predict who the Niners might be targeting if they indeed are still attempting to trade up to 13 or 14.
If a team is attempting to trade up to a certain spot, it must be because that team believes player X will not make it past team Y. So, I pulled up the mock draft databases of the three teams after our alleged trade targets: Saints (15), Rams (16), and Steelers (17). I reviewed these databases to determine if any of the players these teams may be targeting also make sense for the Niners.
The top three players going to the Saints in mock drafts are: Dion Jordan, Barkevious Mingo, and Jarvis Jones.
The top three players going to the Rams in mock drafts are: Chance Warmack, Keenan Allen, and Lane Johnson.
The top three players going to the Steelers in mock drafts are: Cordarelle Patterson, Jarvis Jones, and a tie between several other players.
Of these, Barkevious Mingo jumps out at me as the Niners' target for several reasons. First, we need to groom a replacement for Justin Smith and this guy could fit the bill. NFL.com lists Mingo's "NFL Comparison" as Demarcus Ware. Sounds like the perfect type of player to replace Justin Smith -- especially when he can actually learn from Justin Smith for a year. NFL.com goes on to say Mingo "looks almost too lean to handle the physicality of NFL linemen, but has surprising strength to go along with the elite length and straight-line speed to rack up double-digit sack numbers[.]" This sounds eerily similar to Aldon Smith and we all know Jim Tomsula was able to make a monster out of Aldon despite these potential shortcomings.
Finally, according to Rotoworld, "ESPN New York, the Star-Ledger, ESPN's Adam Schefter, and SI's Peter King have now all linked Mingo to the Jets. So either the Jets are creating an enormous smokescreen or they're being transparent under rookie GM John Idzik." As mentioned above, the Jets are the owners of pick 13 -- one of the picks the Niners are rumored to be targeting. This seems like an awful lot of outlets linking a particular player to a particular team -- almost too many. My uneducated guess is this is some kind of smokescreen and the Jets are trying to drum up interest surrounding Mingo and entice teams to trade up for him.
Who knows if this is even remotely close to reality but it was still fun to try and connect the dots.