ESPN on the 49ers / Vikings trade: I am confused by what the 49ers did in the first round


It was optimism week here at Niners Nation, as most experts fully embraced the San Francisco 49ers project. In our FanPulse polls, the majority of fans gave the Niners an A. ESPN Seth Walder – an analytical guy who relies on quantitative metrics – ranked the top five trades in the NFL Draft. He had the trade of Vikings / 49ers as n ° 1, but it was not in favor of San Francisco:

The exchange: 49ers got choice # 25; Vikings got numbers 31, 117 and 176

The value winner: Vikings

The capital gain: Late third round pick

I am confused by what the 49ers did in the first round. Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb would have been logical selections at n ° 14 and would have met a giant need for large receivers. Instead, general manager John Lynch took on defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, a well-regarded prospect who plays a position considered less valuable than the open sea and a position that is not as necessary for this team.

Perhaps the argument against Jeudy or Lamb was that it was a deep reception class and that a strong talent could be found later. But that line of thought disappeared out of the window when the 49ers squandered so much value to trade for Brandon Aiyuk. By processing numbers 31, 117 and 176 for number 25, the 49ers actually spent more on Aiyuk than on Kinlaw.

To make matters worse, at the time the trade was made, there was a 59% chance that Aiyuk was still on pick 31, according to the ESPN NFL Draft Predictor.

It all seems like a bad San Francisco process. But the Vikings also deserve credit. They were presented with an offer that pushed them back six places and paid them much more than those six places are worth, and they accepted the deal.

Cumulatively, the four pick-for-pick trades of the Vikings in this project brought them added value which was worth a choice in the middle of the second round. It might be a bit of a two-way street, depending on how you look at the choices for 2021 (we credited them as worth 90% of a current choice), but anyway, the result is clear: the Minnesota process increased its expected project output.

This is where group thinking and false plans cloud your judgment. Because Mel Kiper and Todd McShay rank or make fun of a top player, that doesn’t mean NFL teams see it that way. I thought Jeudy and Lamb were better receivers than Aiyuk. I also understand that adjustment is important, and Aiyuk was one of the few receivers to be in shape for San Francisco in the first round.

Regarding positional value, Lynch was consistent in saying that he wanted to build this team across the defensive line. The return after Kinlaw was steeper than the return after the top receiver. Kyle Shanahan made it clear that the defensive line was what made the Niners so dominant in 2019 as well. The 49ers were comfortable taking Aiyuk at 13, if he’s “your guy”, so no calculator or table of values ​​can quantify writing the correct “fit.”

I would say it was the right process when you take into account the strength of the list, Lynch’s team-building comments and the type of players the Niners needed.


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