It's Friday, so it's the perfect time to put a draft rumor out from the lead draft writer at Bleacher Report. Matt Miller is reporting that the San Francisco 49ers, and GM Trent Baalke in particular, have fallen in love with former Alabama WR Amari Cooper and are exploring options to trad up in this year's draft to acquire him. Miller mentions the Chicago Bears as the team that the 49ers will be looking to jump in the draft order so they do not take Cooper as a Brandon Marshall replacement to pair with Alshon Jeffery
High-level sources with the San Francisco 49ers have told me the team is "in love" with wide receiver Amari Cooper from Alabama and will inquire as to trading up to draft him should he slip past the Oakland Raiders at No. 4 overall.
More in the video below:
John Keim discussed the possibility of Amari Cooper and Kevin White, the two top WRs in this year's draft, being a key for the Redskins to get a trade down. ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. brought up the possibility during a conference call this week, and mentioned multiple teams that could be interested in drafting a wide receiver early this year. Kiper has been consistently mocking a WR to the Oakland Raiders this offseason, but has changed it up in the his latest. Kevin White is the new pick for Oakland, leaving Amari Cooper for the Redskins to possibly select, or use as trade bait.
"They're both going to go high," Kiper said in a conference call. "The one that doesn't go four becomes interesting, because then who takes them? Do the Jets [at 6]? Do the Bears [at 7]? What do the Giants do at 9? St. Louis at 10 would love to see a great receiver drop to them. Do they move up from 10 to 5 to get the second receiver? Does someone else move up to 5 to get that second receiver?"
So if Amari Cooper is available, what picks do the 49ers have available to trade in this year's draft?
First round: 15th overall selection
Second round: 46th overall selection
Third round: 79th overall selection
Fourth round: 126th overall selection (acquired from Denver Broncos in 2014 draft-day trade), 132nd overall selection (untradeable compensatory pick)
Fifth round: No. 151 overall selection
Sixth round: No. 189 overall selection
Seventh round: No. 246 overall selection (acquired from Indianapolis Colts for LB Cam Johnson in 2013), No. 254 overall selection (untradeable compensatory pick)
That gives the 49ers seven picks available this year, along with any 2016 picks, and/or players that could be included in a potential trade up. They will have to give up value in the draft to get into the Top 5, but if Baalke has identified Cooper as an elite talent it could be worth it to them. They lost Stevie Johnson and Michael Crabtree in free agency this year, while picking up Torrey Smith to pair with the 34 year old Anquan Boldin.
I looked at some previous draft trades in the last few years since the new CBA/rookie wage scale to try to get a sense of what kind of compensation the Redskins could expect in return for trading down from #5 to #15. I found two trades that were in a similar range of #5-8 that were traded down to the mid-teens in the first round. Both trades resulted in the team trading down basically gaining a 2nd round pick. GM Scot McCloughan has said that he would explore all trade options in every round, but will he trade down. Will an extra 2nd round pick be enough for him to trade out of the Top 5, or does he want to take an elite guy when he has the chance this year?
2013 NFL Draft:
Tavon Austin trade:
Buffalo trades: 1st(#8) and 3rd(#71)
St. Louis trades: 1st(#16), 2nd(#46), 3rd(#78), and 7th(#222)
Analysis: The Bills and Rams swap 1st and 3rd round picks, and the Bills gain a 2nd and a 7th in the deal. The Bills lose value in both the 1st round(8 places) and 3rd round(7 places) swaps. Using the old trade value chart, the deal is almost equal with the Bills trading draft picks equal to 1635 points, and the Rams trading picks worth 1649 points.
Buffalo's pick after trade down: QB E.J. Manuel
2012 NFL Draft:
Morris Claiborne trade:
St. Louis trades: 1st(#6)
Dallas trades: 1st(#14) and 2nd(#45)
Analysis: The draft pick the Rams traded down with should be familiar to Redskins fans because it was the team's original pick before trading up for Robert Griffin III. This trade is pretty straight forward, the Rams traded down 8 spots in the 1st and picked up the Cowboys 2nd round pick. Using the old trade value chart, the deal is almost equal again with the Rams trading a draft pick equal to 1600 points, and the Cowboys trading picks worth 1550 points.
St. Louis' pick after trade down: DE Michael Brockers
Niners Nation, SBNation's 49ers blog, has already discussed this rumor and the potential price to go up to #6.
If the 49ers were looking to move from No. 15 to No. 6, the trade value chart shows it would be fairly pricey. The trade value chart is not the final word on trades, but without being inside Trent Baalke's head, we are left to speculate. According to the chart, No. 6 is worth 1,600 points, and the 49ers No. 15 pick is worth 1,050. To get up closer to 1,600, a package of the 49ers second, fourth and fifth might be enough. That would get them up to 1,567 points.
The Redskins #5 pick is worth 1700 points, which could equal the Niners 1st(1,050), 2nd(440), and 3rd(195), but like David mentions, the trade value chart is far from the final word on trades, and many factors go into the compensation for trades. It's highly unlikely that the 49ers would give up their first 3 picks in the draft to move up in the 1st. There could however be a combination of later picks, future picks, pick swaps this year, or players involved to make the deal fair for both sides. But after looking at previous trades, a 2nd and possibly a later round pick looks like the kind of compensation the Redskins would expect in this trade. Is that enough?