There is no surprise that the San Francisco 49ers are desperately trying to move up in the draft. They have plenty of ammunition and would love nothing more than to select near the top half of the first-round. Some potential suitors include the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, and Carolina Panthers, as all of those teams need to rebuild through the draft. And although many reports do not have the Browns as a potential trading partner, I would be quick to point out, that there is a new regime in town, led by GM Michael Lombardi, who worked under the great Bill Walsh. With that said, if the 49ers do trade up, I have identified three prospects who they may be targeting.
1. WR Tavon Austin (West Virginia)- This is the “splash” the Niner Faithful need! Austin would rejuvenate a receiving unit while adding value as a punt returner. A match made in heaven when you consider the 49ers lost WR Ted Ginn Jr., via free-agency. This pick makes the most sense the more I think about it, as I will go out on a limb and make another bold prediction that if the 49ers do in fact trade up, it will be 100 percent for Tavon Austin as the pick.
2. FS Kenny Vaccaro (Texas)- Another player the 49ers may be high on, as Vaccaro should be available around the 13 and 14th picks. He is a physical hitter with enough range to cover the deep half of the field. I am not a fan of the SS Craig Dahl signing as he is no where near the talent level of a FS Dashon Goldson. And although Vaccaro is also not at Goldson’s level, he does provide a higher upside, as he is faster, stronger, and most importantly younger than Dahl. The reasoning behind the 49ers moving up to draft Vaccaro, is due to the fact that the rival Dallas Cowboys have showed a significant interest in acquiring his services, as they attended his Pro Day as well as hosting him on a pre-draft visit.
3. CB Xavier Rhodes (Florida St.)- Based on Rhodes skill-set, he would bring a physical presence to the cornerback position. A player that can play bump and run or zone coverage, Rhodes is the ideal H-W-S (Height, Weight, Speed) specimen that scouts covet. As the NFL is transitioning to a pass first league, the value for defensive backs increases. By adding Rhodes to the mix, the 49ers will have a stable of cornerbacks which already includes CB Tarell Brown, CB Carlos Rogers, CB Nnamdi Asomugha, and CB Chris Culliver. And with Rogers and Asomugha not getting any younger, adding a third young corner is a high possibility.