2018 NFL Draft: 49ers should trade down with the Patriots

 

With the NFL Draft less than two weeks away, Niner Noise looks at a possible trade-down situation for the San Francisco 49ers in the first round with the New England Patriots.

 

On Oct. 30, 2017, the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots pulled off, what I like to call, “the trade heard ’round the football world.”

New England gave up promising quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in exchange for San Francisco’s 2018 second-round pick, and the rest is history.

Fast forward to April 2018. The 49ers hold the ninth overall pick in the draft, while the Patriots, after losing Super Bowl LII, possess the 31st pick. Meanwhile, 49ers inside linebacker Reuben Foster is being charged with felony domestic abuse with gruesome details. And Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report is reporting that the team most interested in 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson is the Patriots, and future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady is calling the Louisville QB a “beast.”

The stage is set for the 49ers and Patriots to make another deal with each other.

I believe the 49ers should trade the No. 9 pick to the Patriots in exchange for their No. 31 pick this year, a first-round pick next year and second-round pick the year after that. This is a great deal for both sides.

First, how does this benefit the Patriots?

New England has next to nobody at quarterback to succeed Brady. The 40-year-old veteran will not admit it, but he only has a couple of years left in him. At most. The time is now for the Patriots to draft somebody to succeed him. And that person is Jackson who, due to the aforementioned report, is someone New England is clearly very interested in.

The Patriots can bring in Jackson and sit him behind Brady for however long the latter continues to play, which will not be long. During these years, Jackson will be able to learn under Brady, which will improve his level of play by a significant margin.

Just look at Garoppolo.

OK, the Patriots get their quarterback of the future. How does this trade benefit the 49ers?

By acquiring three early round picks, this trade sets San Francisco up for long-term success. General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan will be able to spend extra picks on talented and high-upside prospects.

With the disturbing details of Foster’s domestic violence arrest emerging, it is possible he will never play another snap in the league again. This places a screeching halt to what has been an otherwise quick rebuild Lynch has impressively put together. There will now be one more hole on the roster to fill.

These extra picks are important to filling as many holes as possible.

However, let’s focus on this year for now. With the 49ers now sitting at No. 31, which prospect should the team take?

Rashaan Evans, inside linebacker out of Alabama, would have to be the pick.

With top running backs such as Todd Gurley and David Johnson in the NFC West, it is necessary for the 49ers to take a linebacker to try to take these running backs out of the game plans of opposing offenses.

Evans is a linebacker who can definitely do that job well. He is 6-foot-3 and 234 pounds, which is bigger than most professional running backs, but he is also fast to complement that size. Ignoring his tangibles, Evans has very solid instincts to hit the hole before the running back does and hit him in the backfield. He possesses a well-developed tackling technique and can hit hard when he wants to.

And the best part? Evans doesn’t carry the off-the-field issues Foster brought to San Francisco. Fans won’t have to worry every second about Evans getting into trouble.

This trade would be a classic draft-day blockbuster and dramatically change the landscape of the future of both of these teams in the most positive way.

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