With the 2013 NFL Draft just days away, the rumor mill is in full swing. The latest scoop from “sources” combined with smoke screens by General Managers and head coaches, is what makes the NFL Draft the best and most anticipated event of all major sports. In addition, you have years of expertise given by ESPN’s own Mel Kiper and Todd McShay. So with the NFL Draft just three days away, what can we expect the San Francisco 49ers to do? They are loaded with draft picks, and have the flexibility to either trade up, trade back, or trade for future draft considerations. However, I believe the 49ers are built to win now, and will strike a trade with the Cleveland Browns for the opportunity to draft NT Star Lotuleilei (Utah).
For starters, Gil Brandt of NFL Network reported that Lotuleilei’s was cleared by cardiologist Josef Stehlik, who just so happened to be referred by the 49ers. Is this a coincidence? Maybe. However, the 49ers clearly need a stout nose tackle, and Lotuleilei being a top five talent, will in all likelihood be there at number 6. The 49ers will be replacing one big bodied samoan, with another one. It is important to note, that Lotuleilei did not come in for a pre-draft visit, but RB LaMichael James did not either. The trade makes sense for both parties as the 49ers will get their top 10 talent, while the Browns stockpile high draft picks, most notably the 31st and 34th pick. It is a move that new GM Michael Lombardi learned from the great Bill Walsh, which is build through the draft.
Secondly, by adding Lotuleilei into the mix, it will create a strong rotation, which will include NT Glenn Dorsey, NT Ian Williams, and NT Lamar Divens. Plus, Lotuleilei is much stronger than Sopoaga and will generate more pressure up the middle, giving the 49ers linebackers more room to roam.
And lastly, why I believe the 49ers need to draft Lotuleilei is that he compares to Baltimore Ravens NT Haloti Ngata coming out of college. Just think, if Lotuleilei pans out to be the next Ngata, the Niners defense would be ridiculously good. It all starts up front, and if Lotuleilei can live up to those high expectations, you can be sure the 49ers dynasty is here to stay.
Whether the 49ers trade up for Lotuleilei or not is anyone’s guess. However, you can bet GM Trent Baalke has something planned up his sleeve, and will make a splash somewhere in Round 1.