It’s best not to believe anything draft related that you hear this week, when lying season kicks into full gear. The latest rumor centers on — who else — Mitchell Trubisky, the North Carolina quarterback with a mere 13 college starts. But this latest one centers on the team picking second in the draft, the 49ers, and not the Browns, though they’re involved in this one, too.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the 49ers might just scoop up Trubisky with the second overall pick. That option is on the table, despite the presence of two quarterbacking stalwarts, Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, on the roster already.
That’s at least what the 49ers would like the rest of the league to believe. Unless maybe they are really serious about it, which they totally could be. Probably not, but you can’t put anything past a head coach who chose NOT to run the ball with a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl.
Let’s evaluate the possibility.
Why would the 49ers draft Trubisky with the second pick?
It’s hard to get a quarterback. If it were easy, nobody would settle for Hoyer and Barkley as their one and two. Trubisky, despite the fact that he only made 13 starts in college (13!!), looks like he has the raw skills that best translate into what teams want from an NFL starter — accurate with a quick release, at home in the pocket or outside of it, makes good decisions, etc.
(For my money, Deshaun Watson is still the better quarterback, at least in terms of overall raw skills.)
There was a lot of talk about the 49ers being a natural destination for Kirk Cousins, since Kyle Shanahan helped coach him into a starter. But Washington’s internal dysfunction subsided enough that Cousins signed the franchise tag and put the two sides on the road to reconciliation, for now.
In the best-case scenario, the 49ers would have to wait a year for Cousins to hit free agency, and if he did, they’d have to pay him oodles of money that he might not be worth, especially for a team with so many needs.
Why is this maybe just a smoke screen?
The last time we heard the 49ers mentioned in a draft trade rumor, they were looking to trade down from the second overall pick. General manager John Lynch said they were “open for business.”
Looking for a trade down and considering Trubisky with the same pick aren’t mutually exclusive, but it’s curious timing when you consider the other hot rumor kicking around right now.
The Browns are reportedly considering Trubisky themselves with the first pick in the draft. Cleveland’s press has also done a great job of telegraphing that the North Carolina signal caller is their top-rated quarterback. Related to that is the idea floating around out there that they could trade the No. 12 pick, with some other picks, to move up higher in the first round and take Trubisky.
You see what’s going here, right?
If the 49ers float the possibility of taking Trubisky at No. 2, it might just be enough to entice some other team that wants him (maybe the Browns!) to trade up, fulfilling to Lynch’s desire to be “open for business.”
What’s the likelihood the 49ers trade down or draft Trubisky?
The 49ers go from wanting to trade down to considering a quarterback with 13 college starts at No. 2? That sure is convenient.
The thing about this draft is that we really don’t have a good idea about the quarterback class and which teams are most interested, as Dan Kadar pointed out in his latest mock draft.
With so many teams needing a quarterback and so few heavily linked to Trubisky, or any of the other potential first-round picks, this feels like a strategically placed leak that won’t ever come to fruition.
Chances that the 49ers trade down: 2/10
It’s more believable that the 49ers do like Trubisky and would draft him second than it is they’d trade down. However, Trubisky isn’t the only quarterback they’ve been linked to.
With the second pick in the second round, they could just as easily move up into the later part of the first and go for DeShone Kizer, Pat Mahomes, or even Deshaun Watson, who they’ve also been linked to. Hell, they could probably take a quarterback with pick No. 34.
Chance the 49ers draft Trubisky second overall: 3/10