49ers

NFL Draft 2020: 49ers fans don't want to trade down from No. 13 pick

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AP

NFL Draft 2020: 49ers fans don't want to trade down from No. 13 pick

The Faithful have spoken, and they’re not too enthused about the 49ers potentially trading the earlier of two first-round picks in this month’s NFL draft.

Over two-thirds of the respondents to the Pro Football Focus’ 49ers-dedicated Twitter account indicated they don’t want San Francisco to trade down from the No. 13 overall pick on April 23.

The 49ers didn’t have the selection until they traded defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts. San Francisco’s first pick otherwise would’ve occurred at No. 31 overall, and the 49ers still don’t have picks in the draft’s second, third or fourth rounds.

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Trading down from one -- or both -- of their first-round selections would help the 49ers recoup some much-needed draft picks. San Francisco’s roster is set to become more expensive as its young core gets older, with tight end George Kittle’s potentially record-setting contract extension likely to loom over the coming season.

Finding contributors on rookie contracts, like edge rusher Nick Bosa and wide receiver Deebo Samuel last season, will become even more crucial if the 49ers are going to keep their title window open. They need not look any further than the NFC West rival Los Angeles Rams for how quickly a window can close in the absence of affordable talent.

[RELATED: Ruggs would be more than just a speedster in 49ers' offense]

Dealing either of their first-round picks would help the 49ers replenish the cupboard, but they also won’t have as much high-end talent to choose from if they trade back from No. 13. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Dalton Johnson and Josh Schrock projected the 49ers would select Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs at that pick, with Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb -- two of the draft’s best options -- coming off the board in the two prior picks.

Receiver isn’t the 49ers’ only position of need, but they might not be able to address it as well in a trade down as they would just by drafting the best available player at the position at No. 13. Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch will address this exact dilemma when the draft begins later this month, but it’s clear many of their fans already have a preferred solution.

Former 49ers All-Pro Aldon Smith discusses winding journey back to NFL

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Former 49ers All-Pro Aldon Smith discusses winding journey back to NFL

Aldon Smith is one of the most dominant defensive players to wear a 49ers uniform in the 21st century. The Missouri product broke the 49ers’ single-season sack record with 19.5 in 2012, but a series of troubling off-the-field incidents have kept him out of the NFL since 2015.

He recently was reinstated by the NFL and agreed to join the Dallas Cowboys on a one-year contract. He recently spoke to ESPN about his path back to football.

"It has been a journey, indeed, and a journey I'm grateful for," Smith said. "I've had time to really work on myself and take advantage of all the support and things that have been offered to me. The way I look at where I am now to who I was in the past, I was a young teenage boy in a man's body, so a man on the outside but a boy on the inside. The way I handled the issues, life, was in that immature manner and that was fear-based and not just handling things the way I should have.”

Smith says he has spent the past year in a sober-living environment and working out every day in Los Angeles. 

His ability on the field never was in question, as former 49ers teammate Arik Armstead recently called Smith the most talented guy he’s ever played with.

[RELATED: George Kittle's receiving, blocking mastery for 49ers shown by one stat]

Former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula, who was Smith’s position coach in San Francisco, is the defensive line coach for the Cowboys and was a factor in his choosing to sign with Dallas.

"Just seemed like the best fit," Smith said. "Being with Jim in San Francisco and him being here and then the meeting me and (Cowboys head coach) Mike (McCarthy) had, the way that that happened, we seemed like we clicked the first time we talked."

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of impact Smith can make after multiple years away from the NFL. It’s always nice to see someone find their way back onto the right path in life.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Vikings should sign Colin Kaepernick to contract, ex-NFL exec believes

Vikings should sign Colin Kaepernick to contract, ex-NFL exec believes

With the recent events in Minnesota, Louisville and other parts of the United States, former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is back in the news.

It has become clear that Kaepernick's message from his protests during the national anthem in 2017 NFL season didn't take hold.

The deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis this week, and Breonna Taylor in Louisville in March have led to protests all over the country.

In a column posted Saturday, former NFL executive Joe Lockhart and current CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart said the league attempted to convince teams to sign Kaepernick in 2017 and 2018, and he felt they had "done a righteous job."

Based on the events in Minnesota this week, Lockhart now realizes how wrong he was.

In an attempt to right a wrong, Lockhart believes the Minnesota Vikings should sign Kaepernick to a contract and give him a legitimate chance to compete for the back-up quarterback spot in training camp.

"The situation in Minnesota right now offers a unique opportunity to deal with the symbols of racial injustice," Lockhart wrote. "As a small, but important step, the owners of the Minnesota Vikings, Zygi and Mark Wilf, can send a strong message by offering Colin Kaepernick a contract to play with the Vikings. Bring him into camp, treat him like any of the other players given a chance to play the game they love.

"It will not solve the problem of blacks and police violence. But it will recognize the problem that Kaepernick powerfully raised, and perhaps show that, with courage, real progress can be made."

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Kaepernick hasn't played in the NFL since 2016 and opted out of his contract in March of 2017 after the 49ers told him they planned to release him.

Last year, Kaepernick worked out in Atlanta, but no NFL team signed him.

While Kaepernick is arguably more talented than most back-up quarterbacks and even a few starters, he has remained unsigned since leaving the 49ers. Lockhart claims NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spent a lot of time "prodding and pushing" teams to sign the former second-round pick. No one followed through, and Lockhart explained why.

"But for many owners it always came back to the same thing," Lockhart wrote. "Signing Kaepernick, they thought, was bad for business. An executive from one team that considered signing Kaepernick told me the team projected losing 20 [percent] of their season ticket holders if they did. That was a business risk no team was willing to take, whether the owner was a Trump supporter or a bleeding-heart liberal (yes, those do exist). As bad of an image problem it presented for the league and the game, no owner was willing to put the business at risk over this issue."

[RELATED: NFL briefly lists Kap as 'retired']

The only way Lockhart's suggestion can work is if the Vikings give Kaepernick a real shot to compete to be Kirk Cousins' back-up. Even though he hasn't played the last three NFL seasons, Kaepernick has more natural talent than Jake Browning, Sean Mannion and Nate Stanley, the three other quarterbacks on the Vikings' roster.

Kaepernick deserves another shot to play in the NFL. If the Vikings want to make that happen, great. But it cannot be a PR move.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]