The long arduous NFL Off Season Journey reaches another important mile-marker, the NFL Draft in Kansas City. I am sure there will also be barbecue but if you're not there, that's up to you.
Currently The Texans (2 and 12), EagLes (10 and 30), Lions (6 and 18), and Seahawks (5 and 20) all have multiple picks in the first round, the Cardinals sit in a spot at 3 where they may also be in a position to double up in the first round, depending on the reaction when Houston takes Will Levis at 2 (Or goes defense at 2 and takes someone to play QB at 12). The 49ers first round pick for this season was of course part of the Trey Lance deal in 2021, and barring some sort of deal for an existing player or dipping into next year's draft pick pool with a combo of this year's 11 picks. With that in mind, football dopamine is needed, so here's how to stay interested in the first round when your team has no first-rounder.
1. Pay attention to your team's division rivals. In this draft, we of course don't worry about the Rams in the first round (or in the regular season, for that matter). We do, however have to look at Arizona with pick 3 to start off with. Will they draft a defensive replacement for JJ Watt or get a pass protector for
Next-Gen Webster Kyler Murray? If they get a pass protector at 3, it will be too high, but drafting a Jalen Carter or Will Anderson could spell trouble. Depending on QB-palooza 2023-version, the Cards could also trade their #3 overall pick for something, and if it turns into an offensive lineman and a defensive lineman, it shows Arizona is committed to building along the trenches, which to me spells bad news (provided they get the picks right).
Seattle is the bellwether team. If they draft Carter at 5, who gives off major Warren Sapp vibes, then get their QB of the future at 20, that's gonna be a bad time. The Seahawks are a pain, last year's 3-sweep not withstanding, and smart drafting by them could short circuit this potential great and bountiful Niner Empire timeframe. If they draft a QB at 5, say Anthony Richardson, this would be good news since the QB will likely sit for a year or two and learn behind Geno Smith, meaning less of an immediate direct-to-face-impact of a Carter.
Could the Rams be tempted to trade Matt Stafford or Cooper Kupp or Aaron Donald? Would anyone give up a first rounder for Stafford? Doubtful, but if there is one thing we know about the Rams, they like attention.
2. You can bet on the draft (where it's legal of course). Just a couple of weeks ago Bryce Young was 3.5 to 1 to go #1 overall. He is now, in lieu of +350 (which is how 3.5 to 1 looks), at -5000. Look around. Examples: Anthony Richardson at 5 (4-1 odds or +400), Paris Johnson, Jr at 3 (4-1 odds or +400), Will Levis at 2 (7.5 to 1 or +750), CJ Stroud at 4 (3 to 1 or +300).
3. See what the Pseudo-Niners are doing. The Jets (the Patriots are going to draft whoever the Jets really want just ahead of them, all due to the first round pick flip as part of the Rodgers trade. They may have a QB, but it is still the draft, and the Jets have a history. Brady, Kyle is probably the best example), the Texans, the Dolphins....all coached by former 49er coaches. They run similar systems, who do they decide to pick or not pick? They may all be trade partners later as well, so always good to keep an eye on what they might be doing.
If you missed last night's pre-draft episode with Steph Sanchez, please get caught up above.