49ers' Draft Spot Puts Them in Precarious Situation
Jose Luis Sanchez III
One of the limited downsides of the 49ers making the Super Bowl is that they will be picking 31st overall in the first round of the NFL draft in Las Vegas. It is a complete role reversal from last years draft where the 49ers were picking second overall. The draft went from being predictable to being a crap shoot.
The 49ers' draft spot puts them in a precarious situation. A situation that head coach Kyle Shanahan acknowledges will demand a heavier workload.
“I mean, it’s different, definitely." Said Shanahan at his presser Tuesday in Indianapolis. "You’ve got to know, I mean you can eliminate a lot of people at number two. You don’t have to put as much time into everyone. You still do it, but when you’re at 31, you’ve got to be ready for anything."
Ready for anything indeed and there should be no doubt that the 49ers brass will not be. If there is anything that should be known about the coaching staff and front office it is that they are always prepared. They will surely be well-researched and conduct their due diligence on players who could slide in the first round.
Like Shanahan said, it lightens up the workload because they do not have to invest time in the top prospects in the draft. However, once the draft gets outside of the top five - anything is possible. All it takes is for one team to trade out or up from their spot. Or for one team to make a draft selection that no one saw coming.
"I also know long enough that you don’t just sit there and look at your draft and say, alright we’ve got to know 1-31, but then we can just chill until the fourth round or fifth round, whatever we are, take a day off because things change. There’s always trades, there’s always different draft picks so you’ve got to still go through the same process, but there’s not as much pressure on getting to know all the top guys in the draft.”
This is why I believe the NFL scouting combine this week is a critical first step for the 49ers to have sustained success in 2020. Not many top prospects will be participating this week in drills. Mainly the players who want to show that they have the tools for a team to bank on them in the first few rounds.
Now the Niners do not have a draft pick until the fifth round following their No. 31 spot. I would bet that they end up trading back just to accumulate some picks in rounds two and three. And the fact that they barely have $13 million in salary cap space means that they must find key additions in the draft and not free agency.
Still, picking 31st overall is a tough situation to be in. It's not so much a valuable draft spot for teams to want to trade up. Although, in recent years the last few spots in the first rounds have been dealt in trades. Rather than just sitting in the waiting room for hours just for a player they like to fall to them, the 49ers would benefit from trading back.
They can still reel in quality players to improve the team in second and third rounds. Or they can even attempt to package their late round picks to move up a round or two. The 49ers are truly in a precarious situation and it isn't solely due to their 31st slot in round one.
They have a long journey ahead of them to figure out how to attain more draft capital in order for the team to still be in Super Bowl contention for next season.