What will a San Francisco 49ers team already loaded with young talent do with more 2013 draft picks than can possibly make their roster?
Three words: Pursue Darrelle Revis.
The 49ers are among a handful of teams that have discussed making a run at Revis this offseason, according to two sources. In fact, the 49ers are poised to make a run at Revis even if it’s just for one season (although that could be problematic from Revis’ standpoint).
The bottom line is that if the New York Jets are serious about retooling their roster as quickly as possible, getting a fistful of picks from the 49ers could be a fine answer.
And if history is any indicator, the 49ers will be more than willing.
From a pragmatic standpoint, the 49ers would be silly not to think about dealing most of their draft picks this year, even if only to get future selections. San Francisco, which already has 11 selections in April’s draft, are expected to get another one in the trade that reportedly will send Alex Smith to the Chiefs. The Niners are also projected to get three more selections as compensation for players they lost in free agency last offseason. So based on the current roster, they would not be expected to go overboard in the draft.
Of the 53 players on the roster going into the Super Bowl, seven were guys with 10 years experience or more, including kicker David Akers, guard Leonard Davis, linebacker Clark Haggans, long snapper Brian Jennings and wide receiver Randy Moss. None of those guys are hard to replace or terribly expensive. Only defensive lineman Justin Smith and center Jonathan Goodwin will be tough to replace at some point.
The heart of the 49ers roster is primarily made up of guys in their eighth year or less, such as Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Mike Iupati and Colin Kaepernick. This is a team that set up to be good for a long time.
Still, this is a team that needs to make sure it has as many difference-makers as possible. It also is a team that desperately needs a No. 1 cornerback, as evidenced by the fact that the 49ers have expressed interest in just about every top corner in the market.
Well, Revis is a difference-maker and would be the best cornerback available, even if that’s through the trade market rather than the free-agent market.
And if the 49ers need reminders of how valuable a guy like Revis can be, they can look at the last time they won a title after signing Deion Sanders.
In 1994, Sanders changed the balance of power in the NFL when he became a free agent and went to the 49ers for one season. San Francisco won the title by beating Dallas and wide receiver Michael Irvin in the NFC championship along the way. The next year, Sanders switched to Dallas and helped the Cowboys to their third title in four years.
Moreover, think about what the 49ers can expect if they don’t use their bounty of picks to chase after Revis. Don’t be surprised if Atlanta, which came tantalizingly close to beating the 49ers in the NFC championship game this year, makes a run at Revis.
Or there is this to consider: While Seattle won’t chase Revis, don’t think for a second that the Seahawks aren’t looking to upgrade at wide receiver in an effort to take advantage of quarterback Russell Wilson’s talent.
Or look at St. Louis, a division rival that gave the 49ers fits in two games this past season and will be trying to upgrade at receiver for quarterback Sam Bradford.
In essence, the 49ers may be the best team in NFC right now and may have a treasure trove of picks at their disposal. But they better use those picks wisely.
Even if it’s just for one player.