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49ers "Hoping" to Trade Down in Round 1

Here are the top takeaways from San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch's pre-draft press conference.

On Monday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the 49ers are “fielding calls” on picks 13 and 31, and are “open to dealing either or both.”

On Monday afternoon, 49ers general manager John Lynch confirmed Schefter’s report, but tweaked the wording of it.

“We’re HOPING to trade,” Lynch, being unusually candid and courageous, told Bay Area reporters during a zoom conference. “It’s out there for everyone to see: we have two firsts, and then we don’t have a pick until the fifth where we have two picks, and then a sixth, and then two sevenths. There’s a big gap in there. A couple more picks might be nice, just to close that gap.”

Meaning the 49ers almost certainly will trade down with at least one of their two first-round picks. But it’s possible they’ll keep the 13th pick if a truly special player is available.

“We lost a special player in DeForest Buckner,” Lynch said, “a foundational type player. So if you can find a foundational player at 13, I don’t think you pass on a guy you think is a difference-maker.”

Translation: There seem to be a few select special players the 49ers would love to take if one falls to pick 13. That’s the big takeaway from Lynch’s pre-draft press conference.

Here are five more takeaways.

1. The 49ers are open to drafting an offensive tackle with the 13th pick.

Offensive tackle doesn’t seem like an immediate need, because Joe Staley is signed through 2021 and Mike McGlinchey is under team control through 2022.

But Lynch said the 49ers “certainly could” take an offensive lineman with the 13th pick, because Staley will turn 36 in August.

“You have positions where you look and say, ‘If not this year, then in the near future you’re going to have to address it.’ So that does enter the picture. If we’re staying pat, that’s because we think we have a foundational, difference-maker-type player.”

Translation: The 49ers will have to replace Staley soon, and if they can groom his replacement this year with an elite left-tackle prospect, they probably will. Nothing personal, Joe. Strictly business.

2. The 49ers don’t know if Staley will play next season.

Lynch said they’re “encouraged” Staley will play, and that they’ve “heard nothing that would lead (them) to believe that Joe is not going to play.”

Translation: The 49ers don’t know for certain if Staley will play next season, because they haven’t heard from him one way or the other. They’re in the dark.

Lynch reminded reporters that older players sometimes flirt with retirement in the offseason, as is their right. “You give them that time they need,” Lynch said.

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3. The 49ers need a new young cornerback.

A reporter asked Lynch what he plans to do at cornerback, considering none of his corners are signed after 2020.

“We like the players we have,” Lynch said, and then he listed Richard Sherman, Emmanuel Moseley and Tim Harris Jr., who has not played a down in the NFL. The 49ers drafted him in the sixth round last year and he spent his rookie season on I.R.

When Lynch got to Ahkello Witherspoon, who began last season as a starter before injuring his foot and getting benched, Lynch said, “This is a big year for Ahkello. No doubt about it. He’s got to show it on the field. I remember drafting him some years ago, and all the qualities (we saw then) we still see. Now he’s got to consistently put it to work.”

Translation: The 49ers don’t believe in Witherspoon like they did last year. Meaning, to protect themselves, they probably will draft a cornerback in Round 2 or 3 of the draft if they trade down.

4. The 49ers might not draft a wide receiver in Round 1.

When a reporter asked Lynch if he would draft a receiver in Round 1, Lynch didn’t answer directly.

Instead, he talked about the 49ers group of “red-shirt receivers.”

“You’ve got Trent Taylor, who we have a lot of belief in,” Lynch said. “Jalen Hurd, same thing. We’re still very high on him. And I think you even throw Dante Pettis, for different reasons, in that same deal. But we’re encouraged about all those guys.”

Translation: The 49ers have drafted lots of wide receivers the past few years. And they still have Taylor and Hurd, who missed last season with injuries. And they still have Pettis, who was healthy in 2019 -- he just didn’t show up.

The 49ers don’t want to give up on those receivers just yet. I’m guessing the 49ers would prefer to spend a mid-round pick on a receiver to compete with the red shirts.

5. The 49ers probably won’t trade Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander or Jaquiski Tartt.

Monday morning, The Athletic reported the 49ers are looking to trade Ford, Alexander, Tartt and Marquise Goodwin.

Two months ago during the Combine, Lynch informed reporters that Goodwin was on the trade block. So Goodwin is old news. But Lynch didn’t say anything about the other three players. Was he concealing something?

No.

On Monday, Lynch refuted The Athletic’s report: “The one guy where there are actively discussions going on right now is Marquise Goodwin. The other guys we love and are really looking forward to playing with moving forward.”

Translation: Don’t believe every report that hits the wire. Especially four days before the draft. Ford, Alexander and Tartt probably will stay put.Here are the top takeaways from San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch's pre-draft press conference.