NFL Pre-Draft Power Rankings: 49ers Placed at No. 4 Following Buckner Trade
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Not many moves were conducted by the San Francisco 49ers during free agency. At this point, it is safe to say that the team will not be making any more additions. They still have to account for George Kittle's extension, which will push the limit of their salary-cap.
The grandest move that the 49ers made was the trade of defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. San Francisco sent their dominant defensive tackle to the Indianapolis Colts for their No. 13 pick. Sending Buckner away leaves a huge hole on the defensive line for the 49ers.
That is why the 49ers have been placed at No. 4 by Jenny Vrentas in Sports Illustrated's latest NFL pre-draft power rankings.
"The Niners are among the teams that resisted pursuing Tom Brady, sticking instead with Brady’s once-presumed successor in New England, Jimmy Garoppolo. The Super Bowl collapse fed much speculation about the team’s confidence in Garoppolo, though this was a show of faith, for now. Trading away DeForest Buckner was a big loss for the defense and the locker room, but it gives the Niners a second first-round pick. They’ll now pick at No. 13 and 31, but don’t have another pick until the fifth round."
While the 49ers' trade of Buckner was a very sound move, the reality is that there is now a missing piece to the defensive line. A drop-off at the position group should be a expected.
All they have to shrink the hole that they created by trading Buckner is the re-signing of D.J. Jones and Ronald Blair. Doing so allows the Solomon Thomas to kick inside to Buckner's former position.
Remember, this is solely based on the current situation of the 49ers following free agency. They didn't do much in free agency, which isn't a negative thing at all. They did what they wanted to do given their limited cap space, which was to bring back as many players as possible. The 49ers are still in a superb position.
Being ranked No. 4 is just right for the San Francisco 49ers. Now I know it may seem like they should be No. 2 since they were just in the Super Bowl, but this has more to do about the loss of Buckner. A No. 4 ranking should not be considered a slight by any measure.
It should be perceived as a compliment that the 49ers are very well strong Super Bowl contenders for 2020. When the NFL Draft rolls along, perhaps there will be a different tune being sung about the Niners' ranking.