The Value of the 49ers’ No. 2 Pick
These three post-CBA draft trades of the first two overall selections provide us with a number of obvious takeaways, particularly that teams trade up for QBs, and that when they do, the team that trades down gets the better end of the deal.
The simplest scenario for a 49ers trade-back is for another team to fall in love with a QB that they are willing to overpay to attain. This is the 49ers’ best-case scenario for trading back, but with a weak QB-class, finding the right trade partner will be difficult.
However, thanks to Lynch’s pre-draft smokescreens, and the current state of the organization and leadership, the 49ers find themselves in a unique situation. This situation could provide them with an opportunity to trade with a team that either doesn’t need a QB, or isn’t willing to overpay for one.
The 49ers don’t need to “win” a draft trade per the draft value chart, or any other chart; they just need to win the trade from a personnel perspective.
Lynch’s long-term offset-free contract, and his multi-year plan for the team, allow him a flexibility that is rare among GMs. Lynch doesn’t need to be concerned with a “win” on paper, because in the short-term, the fans trust him, and in the long-term, the ownership is stuck with him.
Most teams, including the 49ers, use value chart similar to the draft value chart. Many of these charts are fairly standard for all draft years, in that the 2017 chart is a similar or slightly tweaked version of the 2016 chart.
The 2017 NFL Draft’s No. 2 pick is generally considered to hold less value compared to an average year, due to the perceived parity after the first pick. However, this lack of value is not fully reflected in many of the opposing teams’ value charts.
This disparity could provide Lynch with an opportunity to “lose” on paper, but improve the team at the same time. For example, in this popular draft trade rumor, the Carolina Panthers apparently offered their No. 8 pick, along with their second-round and third-round picks, in exchange for the 49ers No. 2 selection in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Per the draft value chart, this trade would result in a significant “loss” for the Niners. But is it really a loss? After picking from one consensus draft board, who is the “winner” of this trade: the team who gets Jamal Adams, or the team that gets Malik Hooker, T.J. Watt and Cooper Kupp?
It remains to be seen what the 49ers will do with the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. But whether he “wins” or “loses,” John Lynch has put himself in the right place to make the right deal.