Earlier this week, Brother Girth put together a great rundown of a variety of draft trading strategies. The San Francisco 49ers have 11 picks in the 2014 NFL Draft, which puts them in a position to do a little bit of whatever they want. They could trade up, they could trade down, they could move some picks for the future. The world is Trent Baalke's oyster!
I bring this up because we have some chatter from one general manager about trading picks in this year's draft. Last week, at the NFL's owners' meetings, Pittsburgh Steelers GM Kevin Colbert mentioned how it makes more sense to trade down this year, than trade up. This is not remotely shocking. This is considered an incredibly deep draft, with some people talking about how players dropping into the second this year very well would have been first round picks last year.
The 49ers are in a position where they have needs, but they're fairly flexible. Cornerback and wide receiver generally seem to be the biggest needs, but they are also two of the deeper positions. Unfortunately, we don't get to see the 49ers draft board (well, we hope we don't see one leaked out!). The 49ers could have their eyes dead-set on Justin Gilbert. Or they could be prepared to move up for Jason Verrett (or one of a host of other cornerbacks), much like they did with Eric Reid last year. Many of us did not see that move coming, but the 49ers targeted someone they liked, and made their move.
My question then is how the trade market shakes out if everybody is trying to trade down. Does it then become a buyer's market for the 49ers? The basic idea of supply and demand would seem to indicate that if there are a lot of teams looking to move down, a team could move up at a price lower than what a normal draft value chart might show. One GM's comments don't tell us a whole lot of much, but given the discussion of how deep this draft is, it makes sense that teams would want to accumulate picks. Last year, the 49ers moved up from No. 31 to No. 18 with the 12th pick of the 3rd round. Maybe that pick could move them even further up this year?
Could the trade prospects of this draft be playing right into Trent Baalke's wheelhouse?