Okay, I feel I need to start with some context:
The following is a pure fantasy piece. There is a very specific way that I/we are going to do this.
- A trade. ***ONLY ONE*** This must include the player/pick(s) (obviously) as well as the compensation you give up to acquire him/the pick(s).
- Two free agents (contracts are irrelevant since we have a wizard in Paraag Marathe) but it must only be two free agents. For the purposes of this exercise, we will assume that anyone who is a free agent at the time of authoring the article is fair game.
- Two draft picks. The picks can obviously be anyone but within the realm of possibility (so no Nick Bosa and Josh Allen – the team are extremely unlikely to be able to land two consensus top 10 players with no character concerns)
Now that that’s out the way, I can get down to the nitty-gritty!
The player I think the 49ers should trade for is in a bit of a complicated situation. His team has an “out” this season that would allow them to walk away with only a $3,000,000 dead cap hit. The player is A.J. Green. Green was placed on IR in December of 2018 due to a lingering toe injury. The Bengals have since hired a new coaching staff and may not be tied to Green the way the previous regime was. For the purposes of this exercise, let’s say the new regime does not want to cut him; if that’s the case, I think the 49ers would be able to acquire Green for much less than the likes of an Odell Beckham Jr. or Antonio Brown. The Bengals are likely to “keep” Green just to get something for him instead of paying $3 million to let him walk. Between the new coaching staff, the injury and the cheap out, I think Green could be acquired for a high fourth round pick (which the 49ers happen to have with the second pick of the fourth round). Green would provide the team with speed, good hands, good route running and something they don’t have in a redzone threat. Coming in at 6’4, Green would immediately be the tallest WR on the roster.
The two free agents I would like the 49ers to target were a lot harder to choose than I thought they’d be. The first person I think the team should target is Jadeveon Clowney. I heard Robert Saleh say that the boys will play the run on their way to the passer. That’s exactly where Clowney thrives. He’s an edge player that can use his speed, power and bend to terrorize opposing quarterbacks but he also plays the run very well! I would be shocked if he reaches free agency without getting tagged, but if it happens, he should be atop the teams list!
The next guy is someone reliable, fast, instinctive and young! Cory Littleton (RFA of the Rams). Littleton finished the season with 125 tackles, 4 sacks and 3 interceptions. Assuming the Rams don’t match an offer put in on him, he should be available. Although he led the Rams in tackles, they have a lot of players to secure so if the offer is right, they probably won’t match it. He was all over the field, making impact plays at all 3 levels. A player of Littleton’s quality alongside rookie standout Fred Warner would build a sustainable core for the team going forward, since Littleton is only 25 years old. He seems to be extremely coachable and would come in and bring a winning mentality to the locker room. Better in coverage than he is against the run but he will be given a different task than what he was asked to do in Los Angeles – getting to utilise his speed and play fast, instead of reading what the likes of Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh did in front of him. *Honorable mention here: Brandon Marshall*
So far we have addressed the need at edge, wide receiver and linebacker. It’s important to realize that going into the draft so we know what positions to address next. My hope will be to bring some stability to this offense and keep defense firing on all cylinders. With that said, the 49ers should address edge again with our first round pick. The team has been neglecting it for far too long so why not double up? Nick Bosa is the obvious choice. Imagine a line with Bosa, Buckner, Jones and Clowney… are you drooling yet? I don’t need to sell you on Bosa because everyone knows his reputation. He has the highest floor of all edge rushers in the draft, he plays the run well and he comes from a football bloodline. Let’s make this happen.
The second player I want us to acquire in the draft is one, I will admit, I have a bit of a “draft-crush” on. He is a WR named Kelvin Harmon. Let me sell you on him in case you haven’t heard of him… He stands at 6’2 but he plays much bigger – he uses his size well and is more often than not, the winner of 50/50 balls. When is the last time the 49ers had a WR that would win come down with contested passes? He’s got a wingspan of over 75 inches and that combined with his height makes for a very nice catch radius.
But wait, there’s more! Harmon is someone who runs routes really well coming out of college and will only get better in the pros. He tracks passes in the air and makes adjustments that often confuses defenders that are trailing him about the ball’s location. He has decent speed (I expect him to run his 40 in the high 4.4s/low 4.5s), but his route running creates constant separation off the line. Excited yet?
But wait, there’s more! Even though he won’t “wow” anyone with his 40 time, when he catches the ball, he’s electric after the catch. There are times that he knows he’ll get caught from behind so he is constantly changing angles to keep defenders off him and prevent them from running him down as soon as they should. He’s so much fun to watch after the catch, and in open space, that I couldn’t take my eyes off his tape. Oh,and the last thing that I like about him: PASSION! This guy is a willing blocker, and gets hype after big plays by his teammates as well as himself! This team could use a shot in the arm on the emotional front! Get familiar with Kelvin Harmon because he is going to be special in the NFL – it’s time for the 49ers to start drafting star players and this is precisely who Harmon is!