The Logical Argument for Kyle Pitts at Pick No. 3

Admit it, Kyle Shanahan would love to buck the trend and be correct about it. Kyle would love to draft Kyle.
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You may have heard once, twice, or a thousand times over the past few weeks, “You just don’t give up that many assets unless you’re going up to take a quarterback, PERIOD.”

You just DON’T.


Maybe it’s, YOU just don’t.

Kyle Shanahan on the other hand??

I’m not so sure you can definitively say he wouldn’t. Kyle is literally on record saying, “If there’s a Julio (Jones) available and you have the opportunity to get him, you go get him. It’s worth it. Whatever the price is, whatever the draft pick is, go get him. There aren’t too many Julio’s on this planet. But you don’t have to have that to be successful.”

Now, I could have chosen to leave that last sentence out of the quote… and in the case I am about to make it would be advantageous to leave out that last line, but I won’t do that, because it’s that last line of his quote that makes this discussion fun.

Clearly, Kyle believes two things to be true at the same time (amazing I know). First he believes that, if there is a generational talent available in the draft, you should probably draft that generational talent. At the same time, he acknowledges that because there are so few of these human beings, you may never find your team in the position of being able to draft that athlete, and therefore you better be able to win without one. I, like Kyle, also find both of those theories to be valid. If you can get a guy like Julio, get him. If you can’t get a guy like Julio, build a team and system that can win anyway (also known as rule no. 76: No excuses, play like a champion).

So which is it? To draft or not to draft the next Julio-Jones-level talent, that is the question.

I know I may be in the minority, but I find the Pitts argument to be very compelling. Consider this: the 49ers have a head coach who makes the final call on roster decisions, has expressed a willingness to give up what it takes to draft a player like Julio… and is now in a position to draft one of those special Julio type talents.

Holy run on sentence Batman!

Admit it, Kyle would love to buck the trend and be correct about it. Kyle would love to draft Kyle. Geniuses zig when others zag. The national media would eat it up as well, “Kyle is so confident in his system, he thinks he can win with anyone at quarterback.”

And maybe he can… with one or two other offensive-minded early draft selections (I’m looking at you: Interior OL and WR), Kyle might believe even Josh Rosen could win. That offense would be stacked, a true nightmare to defend.

To those of you yelling at the TV during this hypothetical Kyle Pitts pick next Thursday night, “You overpaid for a *^$%# Tight End?!?!?!”

I’m sorry, but if you look at it logically, the 49ers in this scenario would have selected unquestionably one of the top two talents in this draft with the No. 3 pick. That’s actually referred to in most circles as a value pick.

For those of you now screaming directly at me even louder than you were at the hypothetical TV, “But you gave up too damn much to move up to No. 3 pick you fool!!!”

Yes, you are correct that I may be a fool, but if you’re stuck on how much capital was given up to get to the third pick, you’ve fallen victim to a common blunder: the Sunk Cost Fallacy. The Sunk Cost Fallacy is an error in reasoning that occurs when measuring a current decision with previously invested resources.

What I mean is that the 49ers now have the third pick. In an ideal logical world, at this point, who they pick at No. 3 should have nothing to do with how much draft capital they gave up to make the move itself. The trade from No. 12 to No. 3, and the question of who to pick at No. 3, are indeed two separate logical problems that should each be solved independently in an attempt to maximize the positive outcome of each individual decision. The cost of making the move in the first place is a sunk cost, now that the trade has been made, and therefore should have no bearing on the next decision. The pick made at No. 3 should be based on an independent, logical decision about which player gives the team a better chance to be successful.

So, if what you’re telling me is that the 49ers made a bad decision to trade all those picks to move up from No. 12 to No. 3? Okay, that may be true. But if you believe that first decision was a mistake, why do you want them to take that mistake into consideration when making this next decision?

You don’t. 

The 49ers should decide who to draft at No. 3 based solely on who gives them the best chance to win.

Does Kyle think that it’s Kyle who gives him the best chance to win?

On many different levels, the answer to that question should be a resounding yes.