The big day is almost here as we are officially less than one day away from the 2014 NFL Draft. As always, there have been numerous rumors and updates as to who teams will draft tomorrow in round one. The San Francisco 49ers are set to pick at No. 30 but, they have 11 total picks, so there is definitely extra ammunition that they could possibly trade away in order to select a higher ranked prospect. Below are a few names that have been mentioned and talked of as possibilities for the 49ers heading into day one of the draft tomorrow:
1. Odell Beckham Jr. - WR - LSU
There have been many reports that the 49ers are very intrigued in speedster Odell Beckham Jr. and have much reason to be. According to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, the "same buzz" as there was last year in drafting Eric Reid is being re-created with Beckham. This deep interest could very well end up with the 49ers dealing away there first and second round pick (currently have two picks in the second round: credit to Alex Smith) and possibly even more than that in order to grab Beckham Jr. before he's gone. Beckham Jr. is currently ranked at 17th on Matt Miller's (Bleacher Report's NFL Lead Writer) Top 100 Players so the 49ers are undoubtedly going to have to trade a few picks away in order to find a potential trade-partner.
Trade Options: Baltimore currently holds the 17th overall pick in the draft and knowing that Beckham Jr. is ranked the same, the Harbaugh brothers could definitely be in talks of exchanging picks. It all depends on where the 49ers believe that the best position to trade up would be as well as convincing John Harbaugh to give his brother another gift like Anquan Boldin.
2. Marqise Lee - WR - USC
Marqise Lee is a rare talent that I personally believe many teams have under-looked. Lee is still currently ranked between the top 20-30 prospects in the draft though so there should be no surprise to see him taken in the first round. Lee had a very successful career at USC where he won the Biletnikoff Award in 2012 and also broke many school records. However, Lee has been projected as a late 1st-Round pick which may be surprising but definitely puts him in play for the 49ers to select at No. 30 or involving a trade.
Trade Options: Two teams to consider here are the Philadelphia Eagles, who select at No. 22, and the Kansas City Chiefs, who select at No. 23. Both teams have had rumors revealed that they are looking towards selecting a wide receiver early in the draft due to DeSean Jackson's departure from Philadelphia and the hopes of finding Alex Smith more dependable weapons to join Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe.
3. Mike Evans - WR - Texas A&M
Evans is going to be a hot commodity when the draft begins and is predicted as being a lock-in for the top-10, which is most likely going to take too much from the 49ers in order to move into that position. However, there is still a possibly that Evans could end up appearing more available as players begin to be selected and if the 49ers are fully sold on suiting him up in red and gold. Regardless of how everything plays out, the 49ers would be required to trade three 0r more draft picks in order to make such a big leap in the order which could definitely have some consequences.
Trade Options: Many mock drafts that I have seen show Mike Evans being selected by the Buccaneers at No. 7 and also the Raiders at No. 5. If these mock drafts are consistent then the 49ers would most likely be required to make a blockbuster trade with a team that is picking early. It's always a risk to trade away numerous picks (especially future picks) but, if the target of the trade is a fairly risk-free prospect like Evans, there is much upside to a big deal that may be announced early in round one.
4. Brandin Cooks - WR - Oregon State
Cooks is another highly rated draft prospect that has the potential to go as early as the top-20 in the draft. This is realistically more suitable of a trade target for the 49ers as they would not have to give up as many picks to move up ten or so. Cooks is an explosive receiver that can stretch the field which is exactly what the 49ers have been looking for this offseason. Do not be surprised to see Trent Baalkee and Jim Harbaugh negotiate a trade to grab him before other receiver-needy teams do (Eagles at No. 22 and Chiefs at No. 23). Cooks also grew up as a 49ers fan in Stockton, CA making this pick intriguing as well as adding an extra bonus for Cooks if he were to move back to the area.
Trade Options: Brandin Cooks is projected to be selected around No. 20 so the 49ers will need to find an interested team to trade with in order to pursue him. As mentioned before, both the Eagles and Chiefs could be potential suitors. Moving up less than 10 spots in the draft should hopefully only cost the 49ers a similar trade to the one I proposed above for Odell Beckham Jr.; included two total picks (No. 30 and either No. 56 or 61 overall).
Other WR Options: Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt) Highlights, Cody Latimer (Indiana) Highlights, Kelvin Benjamin (Florida State) Highlights, Davante Adams (Fresno State) Highlights, and Allen Robinson (Penn State) Highlights.
5. Darqueze Dennard - CB - Michigan State
Wide receiver seems to be what the 49ers will focus on in the first round of the draft (no way to truly know with Baalkee) but, it definitely would not be a bad decision to use that pick for a cornerback instead like Darqueze Dennard. Dennard is a lockdown corner who has the physical presence to compete with NFL sized receivers. He is projected to be selected between picks No. 10-20 so the likelihood of a trade would definitely be at hand for the 49ers if Dennard is a player that they like. Check out my 49ers mock draft for more notes on Dennard.
Trade Options: Dennard is projected in most mock drafts to be selected around No. 15 (Steelers) to anywhere near the mid 20s. If the 49ers look to go with defense in the 1st round I'd love to see it be Dennard as he can add to a cornerback group that would thrive with more young talent.
6. Stephon Tuitt - DE - Notre Dame
Tuitt may not necessarily be a popular pick here but, he is a prospect with a lot of upside to his game. Unfortunately, Tuitt was pulled from the NFL Scouting Combine drills earlier this offseason after suffering a Jones fracture in his left foot. This definitely contributed to his fall in the draft rankings but, when he is healthy, Tuitt can get to the quarterback and be a disruptive force on the defensive line. He may be a questionable prospect to some teams but, he was a key contributor to both Manti Te'o and Notre Dame's success including the BCS National Championship game in 2013. He has big-game experience which is always a bonus and would end up being a possible replacement for Justin Smith; even though the Cowboy still has a lot more football left in him. There were also recent reports of Tuitt visiting the 49ers on April 22nd along with South Florida defensive end Aaron Lynch.
Trade Options: There is a chance that Tuitt could be picked before the 49ers at No. 30 but, it is more likely that he will still be on the board when the clock is started for Baalkee and Harbaugh's decision.
Tomorrow will definitely be a good day regardless of who the 49ers select since there are so many highly ranked players available on the board. I'm also always glad to know that the NFL Draft will finally kick-off the start of the countdown to the 2014 NFL season too. Nothing better than that.
(Video credit to Harris Highlights; great videos on his channel so check them out)