- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Whether the San Francisco 49ers trade up in the draft to take a receiver will be a topic leading up to the May 8-10 draft.
The 49ers are expected to have 12 draft picks and may have six in the first three rounds depending on their compensatory pick, which is expected to be dispersed in March. Receiver is the 49ers' top need. Considering the 49ers moved up from No. 31 to No. 18 to take safety Eric Reid last year and the fact that Reid made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, the 49ers may be more than willing to make a big trade up. The 49ers gave Dallas the No. 31 and No. 74 pick (third round) to take Reid at No. 18.
The question is, how high will San Francisco have to move up from No. 30 to grab a receiver?
The top three receivers are considered to be Clemson's' Sammy Watkins, Texas A&M's Mike Evans and USC's Marqise Lee. In Mel Kiper's latest mock draft, he has Watkins going fifth, Evans going 13th and Lee going 18th. In Todd McShay's latest mock draft, the top receivers are more clustered. McShay has Watkins ninth, Evans 10th and Lee 13th
Let's say the 49ers target Evans, who would be a great fit for them. They will likely get up to 10-12 range to get a chance for him. If he is available at 12 and the New York Giants are willing to trade down, the 49ers could potentially be interested.
What would it cost to go from No. 30 to No. 12? It would be less than what it cost Atlanta to go from No. 27 to No. 6 to take receiver Julio Jones in a deal with Cleveland. This is what the Falcons sent the Browns' first, second and fourth-round picks in 2011 and their first- and fourth-round picks in 2012.
The 49ers could potentially offer No. 30, No. 56 (second-round pick acquired in Alex Smith trade with Kansas City) and No. 77 (a third-round pick acquired from Tennessee in a 2013 draft-day trade) to the Giants to take Evans at No. 12. It is a good fit according to the NFL draft value chart used as a guideline by most NFL teams. The chart values the No. 12 pick at 1,200 points. The No. 30, No. 56 and No. 77 picks' combined value is at 1,165.
If the 49ers made that trade, they'd have the No. 12, No. 61 and No. 94 picks in the third rounds with the potential of the extra comp pick.
Getting an impact player like Evans and still having premium picks would be a pretty nice situation for the 49ers. Again, the trade process is just starting, but it is not impossible to think the 49ers can use their pick surplus and address their top need for the second draft in a row.