There are plenty of rumors circling around that the aggressive San Francisco 49ers will trade up in this year’s draft, and Trent Baalke made the call last season to move up and select impact safety Eric Reid out of LSU. Viewed as a boom-or-bust prospect coming out of college, Reid obviously had amazing physical tools, but he was seen as a raw prospect who might not be disciplined enough to excel in deep coverage. As a rookie, Reid was already one of the best safeties in the league because of his deep coverage, and he proved to be an upgrade over high-priced Tampa Bay Buccaneers free agent signing Dashon Goldson.
The 49ers organization is clearly willing to trade up for impact players they are sold on, and they are as good as anyone at evaluating talent in the NFL Draft. Mike Mayock is the latest person to state that he expects the 49ers to trade up this year, and his reasoning is that the impact playmakers at WR and CB will be gone by the time the 49ers pick comes up. Those two positions are clearly the ones they are going after, and while CB has to be the bigger need, they could gun for a high-impact WR.
It’s going to be interesting to see what the 49ers do, and I wouldn’t bet against them trading up if they are sold on someone. My belief has been that this draft class is so deep, especially at WR, that trading up is a mistake, but Mayock makes a great point; you can’t count on the impact guys still being there if you are a top contender in need of a playmaker. If the price is right, then I could see the 49ers trading up for a guy like Justin Gilbert or even Odell Beckham Jr. if they want a wideout.
Zack Martin is generally regarded as the fourth-best offensive tackle in a class filled with top talents, as the top three tackles are all top ten prospects overall. The Notre Dame product won’t fall past the Miami Dolphins picking at No. 19, and I have a hard time seeing the RT-needy Baltimore Ravens passing up on Martin, who can excel at either guard or tackle. Per Mayock, via the Ravens official site, Martin is an “awesome” prospect. The draft guru praises the technician for being one of the safest prospects in the draft, and he actually think Martin will go between picks nine and 13, well out of the range of the Ravens and Dolphins. This all makes me wonder if he could land with the New York Giants if the top three OTs go in the top ten.