Pass rush menace Justin Smith will be playing Superbowl XLVII with a 50% torn triceps muscle. Fellow defensive linemen Ricky Jean-Francois and Issac Sopoaga are set to become unrestricted free agents. And the top of this years draft class just so happens to feature some exceptional defensive lineman that could set up the 49ers line for years to come. With this years “can’t miss” talent at a position of need, I think there is a chance that the 49ers make a play for the Number 1 overall selection in the draft.

I’ve already talked about how a trade of Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs works for everyone, and using the number 1 overall draft pick might be the perfect conduit for the deal. Though the Chiefs sit a top the draft board, they have a lot of talent and not too many holes to fill (depending on who they let go in free agency) As it stands their biggest need is at QB and none of the available prospects warrants that high a pick. Sure the Chiefs could look to add one of the elite D-lineman or solidify their O-line on the cheap by drafting Luke Joeckel, but the idea of trading back and acquiring that much needed QB must be an attractive prospect.

The 49ers are almost certainly going to be without Smith one way or another next year (though the owner has said he doesn’t mind keeping the QB despite his price tag) and rather than trade for a later round pick (which the team already has plenty of) they could create an attractive package to offer the Chiefs in return for a climb up the draft board.

In addition to Smith the 49ers would send WR Kyle Williams and their first round draft choice (31/32) in exchange for that top pick.

The 49ers get an anchor for the future of their defensive line (I would have them taking Utah DT Star Lotulelei) and the Chiefs get their starting QB for at least the next two years, some sorely needed depth at WR and more flexibility, less pressure and possibly back to back picks at the bottom of the first/top of the second round.

The biggest obstacle to this deal ever becoming a reality is of course interest. The Chiefs are reported to be interested in Smith, but are they willing to deal their top pick? Perhaps the team has already fallen in love with Joeckel or wants to draft Lotulelei or one of the other top prospects themselves. Maybe the 49ers aren’t interested in the top pick, they could have already identified D-lineman available later whom they like better, perhaps the price would be too steep.

A sticking point of the deal as I’ve laid it out is Kyle Williams. I don’t know if San Francisco is willing to part with the young receiver, but after his gaffe in last years NFC Championship game against the Giants, and being buried on the depth chart (14 receptions in 11 games) I think Williams could use a new start. He also provides Alex Smith with a familiar face, and the Chiefs with a little more flexibility at the position as he can play inside or outside (though he’s probably best used on the inside) He’s not going to replace Dwayne Bowe, but he should be a welcome addition to an Andy Reid offense.

Final note from the 49ers prospective, I really like everything I’ve been reading about Lotulelei. He would likely replace Sopoaga as the nose tackle in the 49ers 3-4 scheme, giving the 49ers a solid base on the defensive line and freeing up Justin Smith to continue terrorizing QB’s as his career winds down. It’s a passing of the torch without introducing Smith to his heir apparent. Plus, you have to love the symmetry of a top pick from Utah (Alex Smith) leaving at the same time a top pick from Utah is coming in (Lotulelei.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s