49ers: Trading down in the 2020 NFL Draft makes a ton of sense

49ers, 2020 NFL Draft (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) *** Local Capture *** John Lynch
49ers, 2020 NFL Draft (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) *** Local Capture *** John Lynch /

The San Francisco 49ers don’t have a ton of draft capital in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. For that reason, it would make sense for the team to trade down.

The San Francisco 49ers may still be licking their wounds from the team’s disappointing Super Bowl loss, but with free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft right around the corner, there’s no time for sulking.

The team must be in offseason mode as they look to fill holes on the roster and balance a tricky cap situation.

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Despite their success in 2019, the 49ers aren’t a team without holes. The secondary is something that could become quite thin in the near future with Jimmie Ward set to hit free agency and Richard Sherman not getting any younger.

On top of that, the interior offensive line could use an upgrade with right guard Mike Person not guaranteed to be back in 2020. And don’t count out the 49ers taking another receiver in a deep class.

Unfortunately, despite these needs, the 49ers won’t have the cap space or draft capital to get much done.

The 49ers currently have under $15 million in cap space and while cutting players like Marquise Goodwin, Tevin Coleman, or the aforementioned Person could save them some money, it likely isn’t going to do much in the long run.

And in the draft, the 49ers select at No. 31 overall in the first round but don’t pick again until the fifth round due to the Dee Ford and Emmanuel Sanders trades. San Francisco needs cheap, young depth players — a middle-round draft specialty.

Their current array of draft picks doesn’t allow them to draft those players.

That’s why a logical solution to the problem would be to look into trading down and acquiring more assets. The 49ers need to fill out the roster with depth players and rookies are always a cheaper option than veteran free agents.

And in recent years, the 49ers have shown that they could land more than depth pieces in the middle rounds of the draft.

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In 2017, the team snagged Ahkello Witherspoon in the third round and George Kittle in the fifth. In 2018, they found a steal in third-round linebacker Fred Warner. And just this past year, they selected Dre Greenlaw in the fifth round and Justin Skule in the sixth.

At the moment, the 49ers have an extra fifth and seventh-round pick at their disposal. But trading down in the first round — and possibly packaging one or two of those late-round picks could help them land multiple selections on Day 2.

That’s Deebo Samuel and Jaquiski Tartt territory.

If they were to stay put at 31, it’s likely the 49ers would target a player in the secondary if the value was there.

Perhaps that’s a cornerback like Florida’s C.J. Henderson or TCU’s Jeff Gladney. Or perhaps that’s a safety like LSU’s Grant Delpit or California‘s Ashtyn Davis. Maybe they even opt to go with the best-player-available approach.

They would have options, but they’d have even more options if they could land themselves a few more valuable picks.

The 49ers have needs to address and it’ll take some offseason finagling to make use of their limited resources.

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And trading down in the first round might be the best way to maximize those resources.