Why 49ers should trade out of 1st round of the 2024 NFL Draft

The 49ers would be well-served to trade out of the first round of this year's NFL Draft.
NFL Combine
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As of right now, the San Francisco 49ers have the No. 31 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

It would be their first time selecting in the first round since 2021, but the 49ers would be better served trading out of the first round.

49ers should trade out of Round 1 in the 2024 NFL Draft

This would not be the first time the Niners have traded their way out of the first round to amass more picks later on in the draft. Some may be old enough to remember the team's draft in 1986.

Head coach Bill Walsh decided to trade down four times in that draft before the team even selected its first player. Perhaps this strategy is more doable in an era before social media. Nowadays, a fanbase would likely go ballistic if a team kept trading down like that.

But this approach reaped huge benefits for San Francisco that season. In that draft alone, the 49ers selected running back Tom Rathman (third round), wide receiver John Taylor (third round), and defensive lineman Charles Haley (fourth round). All three players played a key role in the two Niner Super Bowl victories in the 1988 and 1989 seasons. Five other players from that draft also ended up being starters on the team's 1988 Super Bowl team.

Of course, it should be noted that there were more rounds in the NFL Draft back then, so if you traded down, you still had more picks to make later on. With there only being seven rounds in today's draft, you probably cannot trade down four times the way that Walsh and the 49ers did.

However, the Niners would still be wise to trade out of the first round.

Once you get into the late first round, prospects become much less of a sure thing. You never fully know what you are getting when you draft a player, but it is easy to swing and miss late in the first round.

If the 49ers trade down to amass an extra pick later on, it would be consistent with their offseason strategy. Rather than trying to make a big splash, the Niners have opted for depth moves. On defense, they have signed several solid but not game-changer players on the defensive line and in the secondary. They have done the same thing at wide receiver. It is clear they are opting for a bulk approach to the offseason, so it would make a good deal of sense if they adopt a similar strategy in the draft.

Not to mention the fact that general manager John Lynch said that the team only has 22 players with a first-round grade. Therefore, if San Francisco feels there are no more players who are first-round-quality available, why not trade down to try to get a little more bang for your buck?

In sum, the 49ers should trade down because it is a strategy that has worked before in 1986, and it would be consistent with the team's approach this offseason.

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