There's an increasing amount of chatter this morning that the 49ers will trade up in the first round into the top 15, presumably for a defensive linemen. The most plausible spot is No. 13, which is currently held by the Jets. Why does this make sense? First, the Jets have a lot of holes to fill and could use the extra picks from a trade. Second, the 49ers would need to get ahead of the Panthers at pick No. 14 because they also could use a defensive linemen.
Who's the target? My guess - as it's been for nearly a month - is Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. He's very athletic for his size - 6-3, 290 - has long arms (Trent Baalke loooooves long arms) and played in the best conference, the SEC, last year. Richardson could be a situational pass rusher this year while spelling starters Ray McDonald and Justin Smith. Next year he could perhaps take over Smith's starting role at right defensive end.
Another possibility is Utah's Star Loutoleile, another big but light-footed lineman who could play all three defensive line spots for the 49ers. A safety - Kenny Vacarro from Texas - would address the team's biggest immediate need. The 49ers probably would have to get ahead of the Rams at No. 16 for a shot at Vaccaro. My sense is that another possible target, West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin, will be gone before the 49ers are ready to pounce.
Let's say the 49ers trade with the Jets for No. 13. What would the 49ers have to give up? According to the draft trade chart, the 13th overall pick is worth 1,150 points. San Francisco's 31st pick is worth 600 points and its 34th pick is worth 560, so the team's first two picks are possible compensation. But there are plenty of other combinations. A package of 31, 61 and 74 and so on would get the 49ers close.
(1st round) 31; ( 2nd) 34, 61; (3rd) 74, 93; (4th) 128, 131; (5th) 157; (6th) 173, 180; (7th) 237, 242, 252.
-- Matt Barrows