It seems silly to think the San Francisco 49ers could both trade down in the 2019 NFL Draft and get Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa. But here’s how it could happen.
OK, there’s no way the San Francisco 49ers could achieve both these things: Trade down from the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and land Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa, who is widely viewed the consensus top prospect.
Probably not. But that doesn’t mean there’s no way to connect the dots on something like this reasonably happening. It all hinges on factors and X-factors, and many of those could fall into place where both a Niners trade down and a Bosa selection wind up being the case.
The first factor, of course, is what the Arizona Cardinals do with the top pick in the NFL Draft. Going with Bosa would make perfect sense. Nothing wrong with that selection, right? But the latest buzz and rumors, according to both Matt Maiocco and Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area, state the Cardinals have an affinity for the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray:
Then, of course, there are the comments made by Arizona general manager Steve Keim on his current starting quarterback, Josh Rosen, and those made by first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury from 2018 when he was at Texas Tech (h/t Yahoo! Sports):
It’s draft-speculation time, so all this could be no more than the proverbial “smoke and mirrors” campaign to drive up interest in Murray — one of only a handful of signal-callers in a very thin quarterback draft class.
A quarterback-needy team could trade up, sure. But for the sake of this possible Bosa-to-49ers-after-a-trade-down scenario, the Cardinals wind up grabbing Murray.
Cool. The Niners are on the clock and can grab Bosa right there if they want to.
Here’s where things get interesting, though. With Murray taken, arguably the only other Round 1-caliber QBs left are Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Missouri’s Drew Lock, while there are likely going to be more than a few teams vying for their services.
The 49ers, New York Jets and Oakland Raiders — selecting from pick Nos. 2 through 4, respectively — aren’t going to need quarterbacks. At No. 6, though, the New York Giants could easily want Haskins’ services. And maybe Haskins’ comments from the NFL Scouting Combine on joining the G-Men will whet their collective whistle:
There’s one possible trade-up scenario. Toss in the Jets’ pick at No. 3 — ESPN reported they want to move it in a big exchange — and you could see two quarterback-hunting trade ups right after the Cardinals’ selection.
It’s not without precedent, either, as Niner Noise’s Jeremy Wohlfart pointed out. In 2016, quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz went first and second overall, respectively. Neither player was seen as that year’s consensus top pick, yet the demand for quarterbacks dictated trade ups by the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles. Both worked, as Goff and Wentz are now franchise-caliber players for their respective teams.
Another X-factor here would be what the Raiders do at No. 4, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold the fifth overall pick. Bosa won’t slip by both of those squads, most likely, although either the Raiders or Bucs trading down would be beneficial to San Francisco, too.
The kicker would be what happens with the Jets’ pick at No. 3 overall. Some other QB-hungry team (the Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins or, maybe, even those Buccaneers) could attempt leapfrogging the Giants at No. 6.
The Giants, all in on Murray, are speculatively inclined to move up with the 49ers, sending off a hefty draft haul in exchange for the No. 2 overall selection.
Got all that? No? Go read it again. Or just look at this:
Come up with any trade exchange between San Francisco or New York as you wish. The question now is: How do the 49ers wind up with Bosa after dropping down to sixth overall?
Remember those Raiders? Well, the assumption here would be them selecting Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. There’s enough of a camp out there to suggest Williams is equal a prospect to Bosa, which is a fair point.
That leaves the Bucs.
Tampa Bay is hurting on defense, arguably just as bad as the Niners. But with only six picks in this year’s draft, it’ll be hard for the Buccaneers to solve a swarm of defensive shortages in this year’s draft.
An ideal scenario, of course, would be the Bucs grabbing a quarterback, too, to eventually replace their signal-caller, Jameis Winston. Just as ideal would be one of those other teams (i.e. the Dolphins, Jaguars or even the Washington Redskins) trying to move up to No. 5 overall for Lock.
If that doesn’t happen, would the 49ers be inclined to trade up a spot for Bosa’s services?
The Niners’ trade with the Giants, in this scenario, just landed general manager John Lynch an extra second-round pick in this year’s draft, plus an additional fourth rounder. That extra second-round selection might be enough to convince Tampa Bay to drop down a spot, while the 49ers still land arguably the best player in the draft, plus a 2019 fourth-round selection and a 2020 Round 2 pick.
Anyway, it’s all speculation. And you’ll be getting a lot of that between now and draft day this April.