How Nick Bosa deterred 49ers' potential trade for Odell Beckham Jr.

How Nick Bosa deterred 49ers' potential trade for Odell Beckham Jr.

Every time there are reports of a disgruntled wide receiver or a big-name wideout on the trade block, the 49ers are widely mentioned as a possible destination.

Rarely, it seems, is there any truth to the speculation.

The 49ers had zero interest in Antonio Brown at the outset of the offseason, for reasons that became obvious to the rest of the world months later. The 49ers crossed him off their list due to concerns about his reliability, character and how he would fit into what the organization was trying to build.

That was certainly not the case with Odell Beckham. The 49ers had genuine interest in working out a deal with the New York Giants for Beckham at the beginning of the new league year.

How close did it get?

“Not close enough,” 49ers CEO Jed York answered two weeks after the trade that sent Beckham to the Cleveland Browns.

There was some degree of irritation within San Francisco's organization when the Giants made the deal with the Browns in March without giving the 49ers an opportunity to increase their initial offer.

The 49ers were not willing to part ways with DeForest Buckner, NBC Sports' Peter King reported. San Francisco balked at that proposal. Then, the Giants apparently wanted two first-round draft picks, including the 49ers’ No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Again, the 49ers said no.

The Browns acquired Beckham when they sent safety Jabrill Peppers, the No. 17 overall pick and a third-round pick (No. 95 overall) to the Giants. (The Giants considered Peppers a player of first-round value.) All indications are the 49ers were prepared to get creative to increase the value of the compensation they would send to New York. They never got that chance.

The 49ers will face Beckham on Monday when the clubs meet at Levi’s Stadium. Shanahan’s admiration of Beckham’s skills and style remains obvious.

“Odell’s a freak in the way he can move and his hands and people do not get how tough and good of a football player Odell is, also,” Shanahan said this week. “He’s physical and competes his tail off in the run game and the pass game.”

In four games with Baker Mayfield as his quarterback, Beckham leads the Browns with 21 receptions for 308 yards and one touchdown.

The 49ers' receiving corps consists of rookie Deebo Samuel, Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Richie James and Kendrick Bourne. San Francisco also added Jordan Matthews to its 53-man roster this week. Trent Taylor and rookie Jalen Hurd, a third-round draft pick, are stashed on injured reserve.

The trade that sent Beckham to the Browns -- not the 49ers -- has shaped the rosters of both teams.

If the 49ers had parted ways with the No. 2 overall pick for Beckham, defensive end Nick Bosa would likely be on the New York Giants. And the 49ers’ might not have taken Samuel with their second-round draft pick.

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The 49ers would have still had an urgent need at edge rusher -- even after adding Dee Ford in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs for a second-round draft pick in 2020.

The 49ers could have focused on adding a pass rusher with their second-round pick. After the first round, the next pass rusher to be chosen was Zach Allen of Boston College, whom the Arizona Cardinals selected at No. 65 overall. Allen did not make much of an impact in the first four games of the season, and he sat out Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury.

Lynch, speaking after the fact on KNBR, said the 49ers determined that giving up the opportunity to select Bosa was too steep of a price to pull off the trade to acquire Beckham.

“I think, ironically, the fact that we had the No. 2 pick made it more difficult because they wanted that badly,” Lynch said. “They wanted two No. 1s and we weren’t willing to part with that. That’s too valuable of a pick, even for a player of his magnitude.”

NFL Draft 2020: Chase Young motivated by former teammate Nick Bosa

NFL Draft 2020: Chase Young motivated by former teammate Nick Bosa

Nick Bosa might have been the best player in last year’s draft, but the top spot went to a quarterback to fill a need for the team with the No. 1 overall pick.

Things could very well go the same way this year, with the Cincinnati Bengals taking quarterback Joe Burrow with the first selection.

That would leave the consensus top player, Chase Young, for Washington at No. 2.

Again, that player is a defensive end. Again, that player is a defensive end from Ohio State.

“Nick, he's always setting the standard,” Young said at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “That's just motivation for me to achieve a lot of real good things.

“It's definitely been a blessing to watch him grow into the player that he is. He's definitely helped me along this passage. He hasn't stopped. I'm just grateful to be able to see him grow.”

The 49ers selected Bosa with the No. 2 overall pick last year after the Arizona Cardinals went with quarterback Kyler Murray at No. 1.

Bosa registered nine sacks during the regular season and four more in the postseason. He was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He and Young also have been in contact as Young goes through the same process Bosa experienced a year ago.

“He just told me to be myself,” Young said. “That's what I have been trying to do the whole time I've been here.”

Young, like Bosa, declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season. He enters the draft after compiling a more impressive college career than Bosa, who was hampered by injuries throughout his time at Ohio State.

In 34 college games, Young registered 30.5 sacks and 40.5 tackles for loss. Last season, he had 16.5 sacks, all of which came in the first nine games of the season. In 29 games at Ohio State, Bosa had 17.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss.

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Bosa’s brother, Joey, went to Ohio State, where he was coached by defensive line coach Larry Johnson. Nick Bosa did not have much of a decision where to attend college because the family was already sold on Johnson’s ability to groom defensive linemen.

“I think the technique that ‘Coach J’ teaches in college works in the NFL as well,” Young said. “I'll continue to perfect my technique. The toolbox that I have now, I know that it'll bring me success in the NFL. That's one thing that I took from Nick and Joey.”

Henry Ruggs, who ran 4.27 40-yard dash, met with 49ers during combine

Henry Ruggs, who ran 4.27 40-yard dash, met with 49ers during combine

The 49ers saw firsthand how a blazing-fast receiver like Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs can change a game when Hill's deep catch on third-and-15 swung the momentum in Super Bowl LIV. Henry Ruggs, believe it or not, might be even faster. 

As San Francisco looks to upgrade its receivers for coach Kyle Shanahan's motion-heavy offense, a speedster like Ruggs could be a game-changer. The Alabama receiver said Thursday that he has met with the 49ers at the NFL Scouting Combine. 

Ruggs put on an absolute show Thursday at the combine. After measuring in at 5-foot-11 and 188 pounds, Ruggs ran a ridiculous 4.27 40-yard dash. That is the fastest among receivers this year, and the best time thus far at the combine. His time also is tied with current 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin, who could be on his way out of San Francisco, as the fourth-fastest at the combine since 2006.

That was just the start of Ruggs' big day, too. He also recorded a 42-inch vertical leap and had a 10'11" broad jump. His athleticism simply is off the charts. 

Ruggs joins a growing list of receivers the 49ers have met with at the combine. But it seems highly unlikely he will be available for the NFC champions. The 49ers own the No. 31 pick in the draft this year, and a handful of teams ahead of them make sense as a landing spot for Ruggs. 

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Before the combine, Ruggs was selected No. 18 overall by the Miami Dolphins in our latest mock draft. It would be a big surprise to see him fall past the New Orleans Saints at No. 24 overall.

It's clear the 49ers are doing their due diligence on a loaded receiver class and could be eyeing a future star at the end of the first round. Adding Ruggs would be gold to Shanahan's offense.