What the San Francisco 49ers do at No. 7 overall will be key to the remainder of the 2016 NFL draft.
They have been mentioned as a trade-down possibility for a team that might be targeting the draft’s third-best quarterback, former Memphis standout Paxton Lynch.
With Jared Goff and Carson Wentz expected to go No. 1 and No. 2 overall respectively, that pushes up Lynch’s stock a great deal. A team like the New York Jets or Buffalo Bills could easily look move into the top 10 to select Lynch.
Also in need of a franchise quarterback, San Francisco could stand pat and select Lynch itself. This is only magnified with Colin Kaepernick’s continued presence on the trade block.
Though, a recent report from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller suggests that San Francisco could very well look to move up from seven to take former Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey, the consensus top defensive player in the draft:
If the Cowboys take Ezekiel Elliott, I'd expect the 49ers to try very hard to move up for Jalen Ramsey
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 28, 2016
There is one big qualifier here.
This is all based on the assumption that the San Diego Chargers or Dallas Cowboys don’t select Ramsey. He’s been linked to both teams during the pre-draft process and plays a position of need for both squads.
Most would be surprised to see San Francisco target a player in the secondary with its first-round pick. Here’s a team with a whole bunch of holes throughout the roster, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
With Chip Kelly being in the team’s war room for the first time, the assumption here is that offense will be the initial target of his regime.
However, the idea of doubling down at an area of strength might be too good for San Francisco to pass up on.
With two Pro Bowler players at safety in Antoine Bethea and Eric Reid, adding a shut-down cover corner would push the 49ers secondary to elite levels. Add in promising youngsters Dontae Johnson, Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Kenneth Acker, and this could turn into a dominating unit.
Pure conjecture here, but a trade up with the Cowboys at four could make some sense. It would enable San Francisco to nab Ramsey with Dallas still being able to target Ezekiel Elliott at seven.