4 things learned from 49ers actions during 2020 NFL Draft

General Manager John Lynch of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
General Manager John Lynch of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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South Carolina Gamecocks
Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina Gamecocks(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers made a lot of moves despite having very few picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. Niner Noise breaks down what we might learn from these moves.

Heading into the playoffs, it was almost assured the San Francisco 49ers would be minimal actors in the 2020 NFL Draft. With a late first-round pick, which turned out to be No. 31 overall, and a lack of mid-round picks, the expectation was a trade down from No. 31 to amass some mid-round capital and a few picks around elsewhere.

That was the primary form of logic for the longest time. Then things began to change.

The first major move was the trade of defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, a move which gave the 49ers the 13th overall pick in the draft and a chance to select a foundational player. From there, all things were quiet heading into the draft. Most people, again, assumed the Niners would trade down. I argued for the opposite, but even in that rebuttal, I said if the board didn’t shake out in the right way, a trade down would make sense.

Then the draft itself hit, and things got a little crazy. First, the Niners traded down one spot from Nos. 13 to 14, picking up an extra fourth-round pick in the process. They then selected South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, passing over the widely accepted top-two receivers in the draft, Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb.

After that, people again though the Niners would trade down and amass more picks.

Nope. General manager John Lynch and Co. traded up to 25th overall from No. 31 to select Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, using the fourth rounder Lynch had just acquired earlier along with an additional late-round pick. Without any picks on day two, the 49ers held pat with their haul, and people considered perhaps a quiet day three of the draft.

But the 49ers shocked most people by trading their fifth-round pick (the only fifth they had now) along with a 2021 third-round pick for Pro-Bowl left tackle Trent Williams to start day three. From there, they selected an offensive lineman, a pure-blocking tight end, a high-risk, high-reward wide receiver and most importantly, they said goodbye to franchise icon Joe Staley, as the stalwart left tackle called it a career.

Quite a turbulent three days for a team that wasn’t expected to do much of anything during the draft.

From all these moves, the 49ers painted a clear picture of their current mindset and future motives. Let’s take a look at some pieces of the puzzle to try and see what exactly the 49ers are thinking.