Trade-up option appears to fit 49ers' draft thinking

Trade-up option appears to fit 49ers' draft thinking
May 8, 2014, 11:30 am
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Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke made surprise first-round picks in 2011 and 2012 with Aldon Smith and A.J. Jenkins. (USATSI)

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SANTA CLARA -- With five draft picks available to be traded within the first 94 slots in the draft, the 49ers are expected to move up from their scheduled pick at No. 30.

In speaking with sources around the NFL in the past week, the consensus is that the 49ers are targeting a wide receiver.

The two players most often mentioned are Mike Evans (Texas A&M) and Odell Beckham (LSU). But the price tag could be high for the 49ers to make a dramatic leap to snare either of those players.

The 49ers have kept their intentions in the draft hidden during the first three years of the Trent Baalke-Jim Harbaugh regime. Few anticipated the 49ers selecting outside linebacker Aldon Smith or wide receiver A.J. Jenkins in the first rounds of 2011 and 2012.

A year ago, the decision to trade up for safety Eric Reid with a little more obvious due to the offseason loss of free-agent Dashon Goldson.

On paper, the 49ers’ biggest need this year is clearly cornerback after deciding to part ways with Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown, both of whom were primary starters the past three seasons.

Yet, the buzz around the league is that the 49ers will go after Evans or Beckham.

[RELATED: Maiocco's first-round mock: 49ers trade up]

If the cost in draft picks is too high, the 49ers have plenty of other options, too. Marqise Lee (USC), Brandin Cooks (Oregon State), Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt), Cody Latimer (Indiana), Kelvin Benjamin (Florida State), Davante Adams (Fresno State) and Allen Robinson (Penn State) are other wideouts that some have matched with the 49ers.

The options are aplenty at cornerback, too.

If the 49ers traded up for a corner, their best bets would be Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State), Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State), Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech) and Jason Verrett (TCU).

[RELATED: 49ers draft needs: Bigger priority, CB or WR?]

One source said the 49ers are not as high on the class of cornerbacks in the first round. If Baalke sees better value in the second round, the 49ers might exercise some patience before filling their biggest need.

Also, some other positions that have not been talked about that could be in play for the 49ers in the first round.

The 49ers could trade up to select outside linebacker Anthony Barr (UCLA). If they remain at No. 30, an outside linebacker, such as Dee Ford (Auburn), Kony Ealy (Missouri) or Ryan Shazier (Ohio State), could be available. Defensive line might also be tempting among Stephon Tuitt (Notre Dame), Ra’Shede Hageman (Minnesota) or Louis Nix (Notre Dame).