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Tuesday, April 28, 2009
A look inside the 49ers-Panthers trade

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The 49ers' and Seahawks' ability to land first-round choices in 2010 set apart their drafts. Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports takes a closer look at how the 49ers pulled it off (thanks to redng0ld for passing along the link).

The piece looks at the draft from general manager Scot McCloughan's perspective. My favorite passage covers the period when Panthers general manager Marty Hurney offered Carolina's first-round choice in 2010 to the 49ers. Here is how Silver described it:

McCloughan was so happy, he was tempted to make the deal on the spot. Instead, he said to Hurney, with as much nonchalance as he could muster, "OK, I'll get back to you." It was halfway through the team's seven-minute window, and there were a lot of nerves in the draft room as McCloughan hung up the phone and did absolutely nothing.

"That's the part of the draft I love," he says. It's like a chess match. When I hung up the phone, everyone in the room was looking at me, and I just stared up at the ceiling. They're going, 'What are we gonna do?' I'm there thinking, 'Hmmm, Carolina's got the toughest schedule in the league next year. [Jake] Delhomme's a pretty good quarterback, but if he gets hurt ... that pick could be pretty high.' "

About two minutes passed before McCloughan reached for the phone. Instead of calling Hurney, however, he added to the tension by "purposely dialing the wrong number first. Finally, I dialed again and tried to get more out of Marty -- 'Can you throw in your [sixth-round pick]?' I had to try it. He said no, and I said, 'OK,' and made the trade."

The 49ers' ability to land Michael Crabtree and a 2010 first-round choice makes this draft highly promising for San Francisco even though the team didn't address primary needs.

And, as McCloughan indicated in the Silver piece, the team isn't necessarily finished. I'm not sure what the 49ers have planned, but if they could find a way to further address needs, this offseason could become a smashing success -- or at least as successful as an offseason can be without having an established starting quarterback.