The last couple of weeks have seen all sorts of rumors about the 49ers trading up in the first round. Frankly, they have the draft capital to do it, should they want to. Bill Williamson at ESPN, in an article dutifully posted in our beloved Golden Nuggets, relays some essentially useless quotations from Trent Baalke about it. As always, Baalke answered with a fairly non-answer:
You have 11 picks. Can you jump up the board high to get multiple guys?
"My vertical jump ain't what it used to be. I'm not sure how high we're going to jump. The answer is the same every year: do we have the ammunition to make a jump to go get somebody? Yes. Are we motivated to do that? Depends. There's so many factors that go into it when you're sitting at 30. Where do you need to go when you're targeting somebody? You saw us last year make a move to go get somebody. Will we do that this year? I don't know. I may know but I'm not going to tell you."
We've been having this conversation ever since Twitter told us to, and the group consensus around Niners Nation seems to be that it would be awesome, but a lot of us are hesitant about the resources it would take to get a top ten pick. Count me in this camp: I'd love to get a top ten pick, but at what cost? Probably too steep of a cost for me to be comfortable.
So, I wanted to add a new wrinkle that hasn't been super heavily discussed: the Atlanta Falcons. In 2011, the Falcons moved from the 27th spot to the 6th (right in front of the 49ers, who picked up Aldon Smith with the 7th). In trading with the Cleveland Browns, the Falcons gave up their 2011 first, second, and fourth round picks, as well as their 2012 first and fourth round picks.
Was Julio Jones worth it? Well, he's super good at Footballing, so there's that. And, the Falcons have achieved a good degree of success in the last few seasons (you know, besides the last one).
I'm not going to pretend that Julio Jones is the reason why the Falcons did well, though he absolutely helped. Nor, necessarily, did those lost picks guarantee that the Falcons would do poorly last season, but I imagine it's likely.
So, are the Falcons an exemplum for the 49ers, demonstrating the high level of success a top ten WR can achieve in the NFL on a really good team? Or, are they a cautionary tale, warning the 49ers that draft picks equal depth?