Draft week is here, which means it’s time for a wild rumor ride until teams’ picks are actually at the podium.
Dropping one on us today is Ian Rapoport, who says, yes, the San Francisco 49ers are still considering – “strongly considering,” even – taking a quarterback with their second overall pick, after the Cleveland Browns presumably take defensive end Myles Garrett at the top.
For a good long while, the best guess on the 49ers is that they would continue their pursuit of Washington franchised quarterback Kirk Cousins, before perhaps finally getting him – if not in a trade this year – in free agency after this season. The 49ers signed placeholder (former Bear) quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley in the interim.
It’s always been possible, however, that the 49ers could take their next long-term quarterback with the second pick, if they absolutely fell in love with one of the prospects in the draft (about whom the opinions dramatically vary from source to source). In that way, the 49ers’ story is a lot like that of the Bears, who pick just one spot behind them.
And Rapoport says a QB pick is still on the table for the 49ers: “According to several sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking, the 49ers are still strongly considering taking a quarterback second overall. That would be somewhat of a surprise, considering they signed presumptive starter Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley in the offseason – and they have Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins potentially as an option for 2018.”
If alarm bells are going off for you about that previous rumor that the 49ers – again, like the Bears – want to trade down, they should be. If the 49ers can convince teams picking in the middle of the first round that their quarterback of choice might be gone by pick two, then perhaps they can secure a decent trade-down, even in a draft where the overall depth is very strong, but the elite, sure-thing quarterback prospects (or anyone else you might want to take at two) are simply not there.
That is not to say that the 49ers aren’t actually legitimately considering taking a quarterback – they very well may be, given the need – but it certainly doesn’t hurt their negotiating position to make sure other teams know that’s on the table.
In that way, this makes things all the more fuzzy for the Bears. If the 49ers *ARE* planning to take a quarterback, then the Bears’ own ability to trade down is going to be considerably weakened (and, in fact, may not even be able to be realized until draft day). Alternatively, if the 49ers are simply trying to entice trade partners, they obviously have the better position than the Bears, and can threaten other teams, “Hey, if you trade up to get the Bears’ pick, your guy probably won’t be there … just sayin’ …. ”
The Browns (pick 12) make a whole lot of sense to move up to pick two or three, and Rapoport discusses the possibility that they could pull off a trade with the 49ers.
For obvious reasons, this bears monitoring closely. And, hey, I didn’t even mention the possibility that the Bears, themselves, are hoping to land their future quarterback with pick three, and may have that player snagged before they get a chance to pick.
Whew. Draft week. It’s going to get crazy. Hopefully the Bears have some good sources of intelligence out there working hard …