Overcoming Poor 49ers Precedent

If the Bears want to move up for the Falcons pick and still meet their own needs, they have the extra complication of demands made higher by San Francisco's decision to overpay and move up to No. 3.
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There's no immediate sign the Bears view Justin Fields as the special quarterback worth trading up 16 spots to acquire.

If they did, they would need to find a way to do it while also keeping enough draft picks to meet some real needs they still have in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Atlanta Falcons have put the fourth pick in the draft up for sale, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

"With teams locked into the first three overall picks, the Atlanta Falcons now have received trade calls from multiple teams and are open to moving out of the No. 4 spot," Schefter tweeted.

Mock drafts conducted after this news earlier in the week have had the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots trading up to the fourth spot.

Why not the Bears?

Those other needs are really pressing. They need a cornerback, a speedy slot receiver and a tackle, preferably on the first two days of the draft.

The later you wait it's usually going to mean giving up on one of these needs or resorting to free agency.

There are other needs, but positions like safety and tight end can be addressed on Day 3.

How does a team solve all these needs and still trade up?

In theory, it's possible. In reality it might be more costly to GM Ryan Pace's old "friend" with the San Francisco 49ers, John Lynch.

The 49ers' willingness to trade up to the third spot from 12 ad give up three first-round picks and a third-rounder to go nine spots has set a precedent the Falcons are sure to remember.

First Figuring Out a Way to Trade Up 

Drafttek.com posts a value chart for picks in this year's draft, a modernized version of the old Jimmy Johnson chart. According to the value chart, the 49ers overpaid by about the equivalent of an early third-round pick to get to No. 3, presumably to draft Mac Jones.

The third pick is worth 2,200 points. The first-rounder surrended by San Francisco is worth 1,200.

So they needed to make up the 1,000 points. They surrrendered first-round picks the next two years, which are accounted for by fixing a value equal to the highest pick in the next round, the second in this case. That meant they coughed up two picks valued at 580 apiece, which takes the trade over the limit already by 160. Then they threw in a third-rounder from a future season, worth 82 points. That's 240 points in overgae and this is the equivalent of this year's sixth pick of Round 3.

The Bears would want to move up to No. 4, which is 1,800 points. But at No. 20 their pick is worth just 850.

Under normal circumstances, they would need to throw in first-round picks from 2022 and 2023 for the 1,000 points. But to reach the equivalent of San Francisco gave to move up nine spots, the Bears would need to cough up another second-rounder, if not third-round pick.

Suppose they did all of this and made the trade. The Bears would need to convince Atlanta to take that extra second- or third-round pick from next year in order to meet their needs with this year's draft.

Keep on Trading

Assume it happens, which is a big assumption considering New England, Denver and Washington all need quarterbacks and could give the Falcons better picks than the Bears.

Pace is going to still need to get on his trading clothes because they don't have a fourth-round pick, thanks to throwing it to Minnesota so they could pick Trevis Gipson last year. The Bears have only second- and third-round selections and they need the tackle, receiver and at least one cornerback

Ah, but they have an ace in the hole. It's Anthony Miller, the second-round pick from 2018 who is rumored to be on the trading block.

It's possible Miller might help them recover the lost fourth-round pick. Could they deal him with one of the handful of sixth-rounders Pace has accumulated, maybe even two of them, in order to get into Round 4.

In Round 4, there might be several players who would fit either their need for a speed receiver or a tackle. It's difficult to find a good cornerback at that point, but they did find one in Round 2 last year. If they thought they had a read on one in Round 3, they could still acquire tackles Dillon Radunz or Jalen Mayfield in Round 2.

If they waited even longer, they might still be able to come up with Stanford's Walker Little. He was considered one of the best tackles in the country until a knee injury in 2019 and opt-out last year. They've also visited with Middle Tennessee State's Robert Jones, considered a fifth-round pick by NFL Draft Bible.

There are ways to get the full complement of needs addressed even with a trade up, but it's going to take getting something back in return for Miller and a few players to slide in the second or third rounds — not to mention the unwillingness of teams like Denver, New England and Washington to get into a bidding war for the Atlanta pick.  

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