NFC West: Lamar Miller

You might recall the high school kid who parlayed an old cell phone into a $9,000 convertible through a series of online trades.

I wonder what he could get for a third-round draft choice.

We considered earlier how the San Francisco 49ers could conceivably parlay one of their 2013 NFL draft choices into 2014 picks. That item focused on getting value for one of the second-round choices the 49ers possess. Later selections can also return future capital.

The 49ers aren't the only team to demonstrate this, of course, but with a league-high 14 selections this year, they provide a good example.

Last year, the 49ers turned the 92nd and 125th picks into the 117th and 180th choices, plus 2013 picks in the third, fifth and sixth rounds. Those 2013 picks are 74th overall from Carolina, 157th overall from Indianapolis and 180th overall from Miami. The picks from Carolina and Miami were the 12th choices within their rounds. The one from the Colts was the 24th choice of its round.

The chart shows what the 49ers gave and received in each of the four trades. The underlined picks are the ones San Francisco started and finished with in their possession. The 49ers moved down in the first three trades before moving up to select guard Joe Looney in the fourth one.

A look at how those trades went down:

Trade One

What happened: San Francisco sent the 92nd overall choice to Indianapolis for the 97th choice and a 2013 fifth-rounder.

Immediate fallout: The Colts used the 49ers' pick to select receiver T.Y. Hilton, who finished his rookie season with 50 receptions for 861 yards and seven touchdowns. Hilton had five games with between 100 and 113 yards receiving.

Comment: The seven players San Francisco drafted hardly played until an injury to Kendall Hunter forced second-rounder LaMichael James into duty. The 49ers had to figure their rookies weren't going to play much. The Colts had different needs. They were turning over most of their roster. They needed young players to contribute right away. They had a spot for Hilton and made the most of the pick. The 49ers put that 2013 fifth-rounder in their pocket before using the 97th pick in the next trade.

Trade Two

What happened: San Francisco sent the 97th choice, acquired from Indianapolis, to the Miami Dolphins for the 103rd and 196th choices, plus a 2013 sixth-rounder.

Immediate fallout: The Dolphins used the 97th choice for running back Lamar Miller, who rushed for 250 yards and a touchdown while playing 13.7 percent of the offensive snaps as a rookie.

Comment: Quarterback Kirk Cousins was among the players selected between the 97th pick, which the 49ers owned, and the 103rd pick, which the team acquired. Washington took him 102nd overall. The 49ers could use a young quarterback now, but there would have been no reason for them to select one at that point. Alex Smith was the starter and Colin Kaepernick was next in line. The 49ers pocketed that 2013 sixth-rounder. The 103rd and 196th picks factored into trades below.

Trade Three

What happened: The 49ers traded the 103rd pick, acquired from Miami, to the Carolina Panthers for the 180th pick and a 2013 third-rounder.

Immediate fallout: The Panthers used the 103rd pick for defensive end Frank Alexander, who had 2.5 sacks while playing 52.3 percent of the Panthers' defensive snaps as a rookie. The 49ers used the 180th pick for safety Trenton Robinson, who did not play on defense and was inactive for the final 13 games.

Comment: Getting that 2013 third-rounder worked out well for the 49ers after Carolina finished only 7-9. The Panthers were coming off a 6-10 season when they made the trade, but they had relatively high expectations after Cam Newton's promising rookie season. Finishing below .500 meant the third-rounder Carolina sent to San Francisco would fall 12th in the round.

Trade Four

What happened: The 49ers were the ones trading up this time. They traded the 125th choice, which was their own, and the 196th choice, acquired from the Dolphins, to the Detroit Lions for the 117th choice.

Immediate fallout: The 49ers used the 117th pick for Looney, who was recovering from surgery and would not be ready right away. Alex Boone emerged as a solid contributor for the 49ers at right guard, diminishing the immediate need for Looney. But general manager Trent Baalke noted on draft day that Looney could project at center eventually as well. The Lions used the 125th choice for linebacker Ronnell Lewis, who played one snap on defense in eight games. Detroit used the 196th pick for cornerback Jonte Green, who played 38 percent of the defensive snaps while appearing in 15 games.

Comment: The 49ers must have felt as though Looney would not be available to them at No. 125. There was much activity in this range of picks. The 118th, 119th and 120th choices also changed hands. So did the 123rd through 126th picks. That meant eight of the 10 picks from No. 117 through No. 126 changed hands. Looney was the only offensive lineman selected in that range and the only guard picked until Washington used the 141st choice for Adam Gettis.
RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks could not run their offense last season when a back injury sidelined Marshawn Lynch shortly before kickoff at Cleveland.

The team was determined to find a power back as insurance for Lynch.

Utah State's Robert Turbin, selected 106th overall in the 2012 NFL draft Saturday, becomes the leading candidate to fill that role. Turbin, 5-foot-10 and 222 pounds, has run high 4.4s in the 40-yard dash. He's got massive biceps that jump off the page.

Turbin became the ninth running back selected in this draft and the second one chosen in the fourth round, after Lamar Miller, who went to the Miami Dolphins.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers keep trading back and adding picks, including a couple sixth-rounders in 2013.
Corey from Orlando, Fla., asks whether the San Francisco 49ers would consider using the 30th pick in the 2012 NFL draft for Miami running back Lamar Miller.

"He's tough, like Frank Gore, he's not overly big and probably not as gritty as Gore is, but he's very fast and is also an impact running back," Corey writes. "Gore is obviously coming close to 30 and will need to be replaced within the next two years. Do the Niners go back to 'The U' to pick up their next franchise back? Kendall Hunter cannot do it alone."


Mike Sando: Miller's name came up during a conversation with Todd McShay at the combine in February. Miller was the first player McShay mentioned when I asked about playmakers available outside the top overall choices. I had the St. Louis Rams in mind because they've needed impact players on offense the most.

The chart shows Miller starting fast last season, topping 100 yards in each of his first five games, including three times against top-50 rush defenses, according to ESPN Stats & Information. A shoulder injury suffered a month into the season was likely a factor.

Miller averaged 2.1 yards per rush after contact, lowest among Scouts Inc.'s five highest-rated backs. But his big-play ability was striking.

"I give him a lot of passes on things that I am usually pretty cool on when you evaluate a running back because the guy flies," McShay said. "He is Chris Johnson. He really accelerates off his cut and he goes. He absolutely flies. Second round."

McShay wound up sending Miller to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 53 in his two-round mock draft Insider from March 28. His reference to Johnson played into my vision for Miller in St. Louis, where Johnson's former coach with the Tennessee Titans, Jeff Fisher, could use help for Steven Jackson. But the 49ers likewise need to prepare for life after Gore.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider