Did the 49ers Need to Trade up for WR Brandon Aiyuk?

Brandon Aiyuk is a good wide receiver, but the 49ers' process of acquiring him may have been over the top.
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Wide receiver was arguably the most pressing need for the 49ers entering the NFL Draft. 

It was practically a lock that they were going to draft one. It wasn't a matter of if, but when they would take one. Pick No. 13 was believed to be where they would, or even pick 31 should the 49ers stay put. 

However, neither of these picks were where the 49ers took a receiver. 

San Francisco traded down from the 13th pick, which wasn't a surprise.  What was a surprise that emerged out of the blue was the trade up from pick 31 to 25 to take Arizona State receiver Brandon Aiyuk. The 49ers got a good one in Aiyuk, but their process of acquiring him may have been over the top.

Did the 49ers need to trade up from the 31 just to get Aiyuk at 25?

Probably not. 

Looking at the teams who were slated to pick after the 49ers, there was a very good chance he would have fallen to 31. Head coach Kyle Shanahan mentioned at his presser following the first-round that "there's no way Aiyuk is getting to 31". He even cited the Dolphins as a team at 26th overall who could have taken him.

Perhaps Shanahan is right. Or, more likely, he just fell in love with Aiyuk had to have him. Make no mistake, Shanahan is the one who makes the final calls on these decisions. General manager John Lynch just handles the details of trades and what not.

Shanahan falling in love with a player is his biggest flaw. It is why he refused to give Raheem Mostert the start over Tevin Coleman, despite being the much better player. 

One argument that has been thrown out there is that instead of trading up for Aiyuk, the 49ers could have taken CeeDee Lamb with the 14th pick and gone with defensive tackle Ross Blacklock at 31. That way, the 49ers would have addressed their needs and retained draft capital. 

While that would have made sense, the reality is the 49ers drafted a significantly better defensive tackle in Javon Kinlaw. And the difference between Aiyuk and Lamb is not nearly as dramatic. Considering Shanahan's system, it is fine to sacrifice the better wide receiver talent in order to attain the more polished defensive tackle,

Trading up for Aiyuk was a over the top. However, that doesn't make it a bad move. Sure, the 49ers could have held off and likely still got him at 31. But they didn't give up precious draft capital. All they did was sacrifice a fourth- and fifth-round pick. That move basically showed how much the 49ers believe in their current roster. 

The main goal of the 49ers entering the offseason was to keep as much of the roster intact. A goal they have accomplished in both free agency and the draft. In the end, the 49ers acquired quality talent in the first-round and look poised to replicate their 2019 season.