The 49ers didn’t do a thing in Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft, but they should still be viewed as winners despite being wholly idle.
OK, so the San Francisco 49ers weren’t the biggest winners of Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft.
If you wanted to pick some teams who absolutely crushed it over the course of the first 32 picks, you’d likely have to look at the New York Jets, New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles.
Each of those teams came away happier, either landing immediate-impact players or finding the best possible talent at positions of need.
The Niners, without a first-round pick because of last year’s trade-up for quarterback Trey Lance, could have only moved back into Round 1 by the way of what would have been a lucrative trade from their still-top pick, No. 61 overall, which probably wasn’t going to be the smartest of approaches considering what’s viewed as a relatively weak draft class.
Unless they moved disgruntled wide receiver Deebo Samuel, of course.
49ers win Round 1 of NFL Draft by not trading Deebo Samuel
Multiple reports leading up to the draft said the only way San Francisco would have budged on a would-be Samuel trade was if it was a deal simply too good to pass up.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the New York Jets offered the No. 10 overall pick, plus a mid-round pick swap, in an attempt for Samuel.
The 49ers didn’t bite.
Instead, the Niners are poised to retain their top offensive weapon from a year ago. While they could have capitalized on a massive return package, no such deal appears to have materialized as Rapoport pointed out, so San Francisco didn’t give in.
Sure, there are some bridges the 49ers need to mend with Samuel, and that’ll require some cash. But they’re infinitely better with the “wide back” on the roster than they’d be without him, hinging instead on the unknown commodities of drafted prospects.
With stiff penalties for skipping training camp and actual games, Samuel has far less leverage than you think.