San Francisco 49ers: Trading down in 2019 NFL Draft a bigger reality after Week 15 win

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers with general manager John Lynch (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers with general manager John Lynch (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers’ Week 15 win over the Seattle Seahawks dropped them in the 2019 NFL Draft order, meaning a Round 1 trade down seems much more plausible.

For those fans in Tankathon 2018 mode, the San Francisco 49ers26-23 overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15 was about the worst thing that could have happened.

Granted, no one in the Niners front office or locker room would care about the pick order for the 2019 NFL Draft right now. And to end a 10-game losing streak to the Seahawks, while also hindering their playoff prospects, surely has to feel good.

Now at 4-10, the victory saw the 49ers drop from No. 1 overall in the 2019 draft down to No. 4. And according to Football Outsiders, San Francisco’s chances to secure the top pick this April now stands at 3.6 percent.

It was 34.2 percent before beating Seattle.

If the draft were to start today, the top-five order would be as such:

  1. Arizona Cardinals
  2. Oakland Raiders
  3. New York Jets
  4. San Francisco 49ers
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars

Out of those teams, the Jaguars are the only likely ones to select a quarterback with their first pick. The Raiders could, depending on what happens with Derek Carr, but that’s anyone’s guess at this point.

Regardless, the Niners aren’t likely to be in the hunt for Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa — widely viewed as the No. 1 prospect in this year’s class. And the loss could cost the team a shot at Kentucky pass-rusher Josh Allen, who has risen up big boards since the beginning of the 2018 collegiate season. Oakland could easily pursue Allen if Arizona goes the smart route and grabs Bosa.

The Jets, meanwhile, won’t be drafting a quarterback and need help on defense too.

So that prompts the question — what do the 49ers do with their first pick?

General manager John Lynch is armed with only five picks in this year’s draft. He’ll be without the team’s own fifth- and seventh-round selections, used to acquire offensive linemen Laken Tomlinson and Shon Coleman, respectively.

If we assume the Niners’ top need is a quality edge rusher, of which there are many in this year’s class, staying put at No. 4 overall isn’t totally a necessity.

The Jaguars, New York Giants, Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals could all realistically be looking at quarterbacks. And there aren’t nearly as many quality signal-callers available in 2019 as compared to last year. So, with teams eyeing the trade-up successes other teams have had for quarterbacks (Kansas City Chiefs for Patrick Mahomes, Houston Texans for Deshaun Watson, Philadelphia Eagles for Carson Wentz and the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff) in recent years, it’s not hard to fathom a bidding war picking up for a top-five chance at a franchise-caliber guy under center.

San Francisco is further along in the rebuild than its record would indicate. A handful of pieces should do wonders turning this four-win team into a true contender next year. That said, depth and increased chances at landing impact talent are premium priorities for Lynch and Co.

And considering this year’s NFL Draft has plenty of the 49ers’ top need, a trade down would still net Lynch a top-quality pass-rusher with the added bonus of landing more picks.

Next. 49ers' position grades from Week 15 win vs. Seahawks. dark

The 2019 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 25, 2019.