Just in case you didn't hear, the 49ers traded defensive lineman and former 29th overall pick Kentwan Balmer to the Seattle Seahawks for a sixth round pick. Balmer paid the 49ers a portion of his signing bonus to get the team to trade him. All of that doesn't really matter though - the question is why?
Not, "Why did the 49ers trade this guy?" No, the question is, "Why did the Seahawks want this guy?" I have an answer for you. After poring over stat lines and spending at least two minutes of my very busy and largely important day (for information on how I spend my free time, please refer to today's Golden Nuggets on Niners Nation), I have discovered just why the Seahawks gave up a pick for Balmer.
'Note that a sixth round pick isn't necessarily a throw away pick. With a good GM and personnel guy, a team can get gem after gem in the sixth round of the draft. In the most recent draft, the 49ers have thus far seemed to hit with two picks in said round, receiver Kyle Williams and running back Anthony Dixon. The other pick, Nate Byham, doesn't look too bad either.
So we can't say it's a throw away pick. A competent personnel guy can dig and uncover something special in the late round. I suppose that's why the Seahawks are OK with tossing one to the 49ers for basically nothing, though. What - you're surprised that a 49ers fan took a shot at Scot McCloughan? Oh please. You underestimate me, dear reader.
Turns out the Seahawks are short on kick returners. They've been exposed. They're short on returners, and the best place to look for them: where everyone least expects it. He's a defensive lineman, the other team's won't see it coming. Well, they will now that I've exposed them.
Kentwan Balmer has totaled eleven tackles in his NFL career spanning two seasons. He's registered zero quarterback sacks. He's been in plenty of times - never truly being a starter but not necessarily being buried in the depth chart. But the most telling stat of all? Balmer's kick return stats. He's had only four more tackles than kick returns. The guy is 315 pounds and pulls a 7.7 average on kickoff returns. That's impressive. That's first round talent.
The Seahawks have a plan here. I'm not sure what, but look for Balmer to make the highlight reels this season when he takes back a record number of touchdowns. The 49ers lost big here. Apparently Scot McCloughan didn't tell the 49ers his future plans with Balmer before he got wasted and ended up in Seattle accidentally. Because nobody goes there on purpose, anyway.