The San Francisco 49ers came into the 2013 NFL Draft with an abundance of picks and a very solid roster. Barring injury, they will be returning 21 out of 22 starters from their NFC Championship team last year. The one starter that they lost was at free safety. This year there was an abundance of safeties for the 49ers to choose from, and they identified Eric Reid as the player that they felt was the best fit for the 49ers.
The 49ers were able to move up 13 spots to #18 by trading their first round pick (#31) and a third round pick (#74) to the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys drafted Travis Frederick and Terrence Williams with their new picks. The 49ers in turn drafted Eric Reid to fill the shoes of the departed Dashon Goldson. Some feel that the 49ers did not need to trade up in order to get Reid, and I agree with that. However, I also fully understand why the trade up happened.
Every year teams put a premium on certain players. The 49ers clearly had their sights set on Reid. Jim Harbaugh had recruited him coming out of high school and was intent on getting his guy this time around. There was a good chance that Reid would have been there for the 49ers to be selected if they stayed at #31. There was also a chance that another one of the safety-needy teams could have selected him.
Reid could have been selected at eight different spots before the 49ers if they stayed put. The Cowboys, Bengals (21), Vikings (23,29), Packers, Texans and the Rams (Rams) all had a need for a safety, and realizing that made the 49ers trade up to get their target. Sometimes teams will relax and hope that their player falls to them. The Cowboys did this and they had five players that they targeted get selected. So, they panicked when their top targets were gone and selected Frederick.
The thing that Trent Baalke, the 49ers’ General Manager continues to speak about is how smart Reid is. He felt that Reid will fit in well with the organization. There were some other safeties that had similar size, such as Jonathan Cyprien that drew interest. Cyprien was selected at pick #33. Additionally, Matt Elam, a smaller but top rated safety, was selected in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens.
The trade up was worth it because it allowed them to secure their top guy that possibly wouldn’t have been there later. The 49ers had 14 picks so they were in an excellent position to package picks that would allow them to draft an impact player. I personally felt that Reid would have been available at #31 if the 49ers stayed put. In true Baalke fashion, the 49ers moved up to make sure that they got the guy that they wanted.