The San Francisco 49ers decided to play it safe on draft day and did very little to improve their draft assets and received a ho-hum “C+” grade as a result. All teams start with an average “C” grade and then need to impress me in order to move up. The 49ers didn’t exactly impress me, but they did create at least a little draft day capital.
Their first trade was a good one by trading back six spots from No. 104 to No. 110 and picking up No. 183 (6th) in return. I like this type of trade down strategy because there is essentially no difference in the quality of player available at that point of the draft, so why not move back and get an extra sixth round lottery ticket? The discussion of whether or not the 49ers should’ve invested the No. 110 pick in a punter in Mitch Wishnowsky can be debated elsewhere. From a player standpoint the 49ers received OT Justin Skule (No. 183) for nothing. If he even makes the roster as a backup this trade has to be considered a success. As I state in Article 2 of Trade Down Island’s Glorious Constitution, “The NFL draft is largely educated guesswork, so more picks means more correct guesses.” Justin Skule is San Francisco’s example of trying to win the lottery by scratching an extra ticket this year. The odds of winning aren’t great, of course, but it’s not a bad move by San Francisco.
The 49ers second trade involved trading up for No. 146 (5th) in exchange for No. 212 (6th) and LB Dekoda Watson, a 31-year-old NFL journeyman with seven career starts. It’s hard to place an accurate value on trades like this one that involve both picks and players, but I’d rather have what San Francisco got (No. 148) over what they gave up (No. 212 and Watson). We’ll see if Dre Greenway (No. 148) turns out to be more valuable than the combination of Dennis Daley (No. 212) and Dekoda Watson.
Overall the 49ers net trade rating is a +7 based on the Dallas Draft Value Chart, meaning they got back slightly more draft capital than they gave up with their trades. I concur. The 49ers had a low risk, low reward approach to their draft day trades and that’s exactly what they got – low reward.