SF 49ers: 3 silver linings from playoff-eliminating loss to Cowboys
By Peter Panacy
No. 1: SF 49ers move up in 2021 NFL Draft positioning
Ah, yes. The primary focus for any team not making the postseason.
For the “team tank” crowd, this is great news. Entering Week 15, San Francisco was slated to pick at No. 11 and would have a tough time landing one of the high-profile quarterbacks who are widely predicted to go within the top five, should that be the approach Kyle Shanahan and Co. make.
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Yet there were seven teams with either four or five wins on the season logjammed ahead of the SF 49ers, putting the No. 4 overall pick very much in play for the red and gold. Dallas, now 5-9, was one of those teams. And with tiebreakers being the way they are, and everything else being the same, the Niners are assured to draft earlier than the Cowboys as long as both teams finish with identical records or San Francisco with a worse record.
The Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers and Detroit Lions all lost, so that doesn’t help. But the Los Angeles Chargers won on Thursday night, so that moves another team behind San Francisco in the draft order.
Any climb up these April rankings sure help, both in terms of grabbing a better-ranked prospect and even towards potentially trading up for one of those big-name signal-callers.
Maybe that should be the SF 49ers’ focus over their final two games while hoping some other four- or five-win teams somehow pull off wins in Weeks 16 and 17.