Just like that, the 49ers pull off a draft-day trade and move out of their first pick. And once again, it’s with the Chicago Bears.
Remember 2017 when the Bears moved up to No. 2 with the Niners to grab quarterback Mitchell Trubisky? Well, Trubisky hasn’t exactly proven he can be worthy of a franchise-level contract, and one could easily count Chicago as another team likely on the hunt for its next quarterback.
There are going to be a number of other teams in the mix, too, meaning the Bears could be more than willing to move up to the back end of Round 1 to grab a signal-caller in the second tier of quarterbacks before day two of the draft.
In doing so, Chicago sends off its two Round 2 picks to the 49ers in exchange for the No. 31 overall selection straight up, which was a possibility Niner Noise discussed here.
San Francisco then turns the No. 43 pick into a safety out of Alabama, Xavier McKinney.
Now, this is something of a gamble, as McKinney is often mocked towards the tail end of Round 1. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound prospect isn’t quite as rangy as the 49ers would like in a Cover 3 system. But few can question McKinney’s instincts. A strong NFL Scouting Combine could ultimately mean he won’t be available at No. 43 overall. But there are plenty of Round 1-caliber players who end up going in the middle of Round 2.
McKinney could be the example.
If that’s the case, the Niners could then afford to move on from safety Jimmie Ward, who’ll likely command a hefty salary in free agency after posting a career-best year in 2019.