2000 Draft Look- 02/27/2000
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It seemed so quiet around 49ers headquarters. The staff had packed up and gone to Indianapolis to scout the college combine. No news, nothing; that was of course until the announcement came that the 49ers traded their #3 overall pick in the draft to the Washington Redskins in exchange for the 12th, 24th overall selections as well as the 24th (118 overall) choice of the fourth round and the 24th (148 overall) of the fifth round. With this move, a number of questions and situations arise.

Firstly why didn't the 49ers wait? The answer here is quite simple, they didn't want to gamble. Courtney Brown showed extreme talent at the combine and the 49ers were worried that a team would pull of a Ricky Williams type draft day trade to acquire Brown with the first pick. Washington would then have chosen Arrington with the second pick and the 49ers would be forced to trade down. Another reason was that even if the 49ers had the chance to acquire Brown or Arrington, they would be forced to pay lots of money in signing bonuses, something they are not in a great position to do. The move also allows the team to concentrate on drafting to first round caliber players to fill two of its most pressing needs- defensive end and linebacker. The 49ers would like to acquire a talented defensive back too, but will likely wait until the second round where they hold the number 3 selection (#33 overall) to draft Rashad Anderson or Ahmed Plummer, neither of which is expected to go in the first round.

Another situation that arrives is by trading down the 49ers will not be able to get a hold of either of the two best defensive players in the draft: Courtney Brown DE or Lavar Arrington. The 49ers will most likely still look to the defensive side of the ball in the first round where Kansas State's Darren Howard and Virginia Tech's John Engelberger are two defensive ends that deserve a real chance- but the team may choose to select QB Chad Pennington to compete with Garcia or possibly be groomed as the quarterback of the future. If the 49ers elect to draft Pennington, the best quarterback in the draft they may look to trade down a few more places in the draft to possibly the 14th position where Green Bay currently stands, picking up yet another additional later round pick, in the hopes that Pennington will still be available. They may also let him slip and hope he falls all the way to number 24. Both circumstances will rely on Pittsburgh, at the number 8 position, a team in need of a real quarterback.

If the 49ers do decide to go offense in the first round another possibility is OT Chris Samuels. The 49ers offensive line struggled early last season but seemed to come together. If Samuels slips as far as the 12 position the 49ers would be hard pressed not to take him.

The move leaves the 49ers with 10 draft picks, and they are looking to acquire more. Rumour has it that the 49ers and Raiders are talking draft picks, and the 9ers would like to enter the draft with two first round picks and two second round picks. The move also forces the 49ers to find additional salary cap space to sign the draft picks. Thus the 49ers are meeting with Jerry Rice to try yet again to hammer out a deal that will free up some room for the 49ers to get even more picks. The 49ers currently have only 18 defensive players under contract; a regular full time roster usually has about 25 players on each side of the ball plus 2 kickers. Teams are allowed to have over 100 players on the roster entering training camp, and that number is then cut to about 75 and then down to the 52-man roster. The 49ers will likely attempt to sign many rookie free agents too after the draft in the hopes that they can get a hold of another player that will follow in the footsteps of Jr. Bryant, Zack Bronson or Derrick Deese.

Many people are questioning if the 49ers could have gotten more for the pick. The 9ers were hoping to aquire a third round draft pick in the trade, but agreed to the 4th and 5th in the hopes that they can at least get solid contributors from these positions. The 49ers are looking to get younger and faster, thus it is no wonder that they are attempting to get their hands on so many rookies. The moves are reminiscent of Bill Walsh's earlier days with the club, as well as the moves Jimmy Johnson made upon his move to Miami, where he built a really fast, young, good defense. There have also been reports that Mariucci was not satisfied with the deal, and screamed at Walsh "you gave it away". These reports seem to be incorrect and media hyped to further play out the drama of the 49ers front office. All three parties, Walsh, Mariucci and former 49ers director or personnel, currently holding the same position in Washington Vinny Cerreto all denied these allegations.

The recent moves leave the 49ers in good position entering this year’s draft. The 49ers no longer have the pressure of focusing on a single position to turn the team around and are likely to draft many players to fill out the rest of the roster. The move also puts the signing of any big name free agents further out of reach.
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