Much has been made of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers moving up one spot with the San Francisco 49ers. In the 2020 NFL Draft, Tampa Bay moved from 14th to 13th overall to secure the player they wanted. Some allude to there being two teams wanting to trade up in front of the Buccaneers, but some draft day actions also point to the 49ers themselves as a threat to keep Tampa Bay from getting the pick they coveted.
Tampa Bay moved up one spot from 14 to 13 in the 2020 NFL Draft. For some fans, this seemed unreasonable or a move by the 49ers to fleece the Buccaneers. After all, we saw them pull the same stunt with the Chicago Bears a few years back. The “illusion” of the need to trade up had fans scratching their heads as to why the Buccaneers did not call their bluff. Additionally, the Buccaneers could use their fourth-round pick to add much-needed depth.
The Looming Threat: Miami
With multiple needs and a plethora of picks, the Dolphins were a threat to everyone in the draft. Particularly during the first round. They had enough ammo to jump in front of any team. Luckily, the 49ers didn’t take their offer. As this would have pushed them out of range for Javon Kinlaw.
The Hidden Threat: San Francisco
Though the 49ers eventually selected Kinlaw with their first pick, there was a hidden need at offensive tackle for the team and the potential to destroy the Buccaneers’ draft plans. My assumption is: the 49ers front office knew all along offensive tackle Joe Staley would retire. John Lynch spoke with him and he told them of his intentions. To help the team that drafted him in the first round of 2007, the only team he has ever played for, he agreed to NOT retire until the draft played out and they found a replacement. Brilliant game planning on Lynch’s behalf.
Second, I assume that after the top ten teams picked and Trent Williams was not traded for, the 49ers and Lynch knew they were the front runners to gain Trent Williams. They then only needed to stand their ground.
Third, I assume the fifth-round pick this year, and the third next year had already been presented to the Washington Redskins. It then became a waiting game. A staring contest. One Lynch knew he already won. But he didn’t need to let anyone outside the organization know. If he had, then he couldn’t maneuver the way he did in the draft. Ultimately Lynch traded for his new offensive tackle and drafted one to see if they can coach him up to replace the others later.
Had the thought of not gaining Trent Williams taken hold in the 49ers front office, then they could have pulled the trigger on Tristan Wirfs. During the draft, prognosticators would have questioned this selection. Eventually changing their evaluation of the pick once news broke of Staley riding off into the sunset.
Absolutely Worth The Trade-Up
At the end of the day, the Buccaneers traded a fourth-round pick to the 49ers to ensure they got the player they wanted. It was a minor price to pay for a player that has Pro-Bowl talent and can anchor the offensive line for a decade or more. Tampa Bay got a player with a top ten talent at the 13th selection overall. Solid pick and a smart move!
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