2020 NFL Draft: Case for 49ers not trading first-round picks

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
1 of 3
John Lynch, 49ers
San Francisco 49ers General Manager John Lynch (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

With two first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, pundits expect the 49ers to trade down at least once. However, there’s a case to be made for the opposite.

The NFL Draft has become a spectacle rivaling most major entertainment events, and despite the outbreak of Covid-19 making it a virtual affair, the core allure of the draft remains. For fans of many teams, including the San Francisco 49ers, it offers a chance to look into the methodology of their front office and because of the availability of college game footage, fans can even attempt to mimic what their teams do.

In the draft, decisions are panned and graded instantly, only for those grades to be completely altered in hindsight. Selecting Pro Bowlers in the later rounds is applauded, when in reality, even that initial team undervalued that very player. Can’t-miss prospects disappear as fast as they emerged.

The point I’m trying to make is the NFL Draft is, in many ways, a game of chance. Teams can do their analysis and better their odds, but at its very core, there’s a sense of unpredictability that makes it so fascinating.

In that vein, it seems logical, that if the draft was like throwing darts at a board while blindfolded, you’d want as many darts as possible.

The San Francisco 49ers don’t have many “darts” right now, currently with only seven draft picks, five of which are slated for day three, when a dart throw is also with your weaker hand while barely awake. The chances on hitting are extremely low. Because the Niners have so few picks, pundits have all but assured that the 49ers will be trading down from one, if not two, of their first-round selections.

Even though I’ve spent the last few paragraphs illustrating the apparent value of having a lot of picks, I’m going to argue the opposite. San Francisco should not be trying to trade down; in fact, the more valuable play would be to potentially trade up in the draft using current first-round picks.

Let’s take a look at why trading down is not the best move.