We've discussed how the 49ers are unlikely to be drafting a quarterback in the first round, or at least that it's unlikely they grab a guy at the seventh overall pick. There remains the situations of trading back to the back-end to grab a Christian Ponder type of guy or trading back into the round to do the same after-the-fact. Those two scenarios are also unlikely for a team with the type of needs they have and their ability to address them at seven with the talent at need positions in the 2011 draft class.
It was widely discussed last year the draft's new format - in that, the first round is held by itself on one day, while rounds two and three are the next day, followed by rounds four, five, six and seven on the third day. Many believed that this would create a flurry of activity following the first round for teams to potentially trade into that first spot in the second round. It didn't happen last year, the St. Louis Rams used that pick as opposed to trading it, but the theory is still there.
This draft is heavy on developmental quarterbacks, and the first round is heavy on athletic specimens at positions along the defensive line and defensive backfield. Teams will address those needs and players like Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton will be around in the second round for the picking. These guys are already getting heavy interest around the league, and the 49ers are sitting with the 13th pick in the second round, and that may leave them with limited options if teams load up on the developmental talent. Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker, Kaepernick, Dalton, Ponder - these guys could all be gone at this point.
So would it be within San Francisco's best interest to trade up into the top spot in the second round? The pick is currently owned by the New England Patriots, who may opt to use it to gain a tactical advantage, but if there's anything we know about that organization - it's that they know how to turn one pick into many. They've got to be licking their lips at the prospects of moving out of that pick following day one so one team can grab one of those fringe first rounders that fell in the draft.
The 49ers have a pick in every round, possessing two in rounds four, six and seven. A second round pick, especially one high-up in the round, is worth more now than it was just a couple years ago when the first and second rounds were held on the same day. Many believe that it might require something akin to a future first round pick (because many believe that is potentially what this is, the fringe first-round talent) but that's not necessarily true. Maybe the prospects of switching picks in the second round, plus one of those fourth rounders and potentially more is enough?
Either way, head coach Jim Harbaugh seems to be a big proponent of building through the draft, as is general manager Trent Baalke, so don't expect the 49ers to pay the price if it's a future first rounder - they'd settle for another developmental guy at that point, but if they can get up there with little issue, don't be surprised is San Francisco jumps up to get someone that Harbaugh may like. Some might say that you can never overpay for a franchise quarterback, which I liken in a way to the San Francisco Giants World Series win in 2010. They had a could players like Barry Zito and Edgar Renteria seemingly overpaid - but a World Series win and those contracts are 100% validated. Just some food for thought.