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NFL draft: Who should 49ers target or avoid if they trade back from No. 2?

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NFL draft: Who should 49ers target or avoid if they trade back from No. 2?

So what happens if the Arizona Cardinals select Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa with the No. 1 overall pick?

Until the Cardinals actually announce their decision – as most have believed for a while – that Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray is their man, there remains a bit of intrigue. The 49ers must wait patiently at No. 2.

If Bosa goes No. 1, the 49ers would likely listen to offers to trade out of No. 2. That’s where things could get very interesting. And it opens up a lot more possibilities for the 49ers to consider with their first- and second-round draft picks.

Here are a couple of players the 49ers could consider if they trade back from No. 2 – either with their first or second-round selection -- and a couple of highly rated players they should not be tempted to select:

Boom?

In a trade-back scenario, the 49ers could still get their edge rusher.

Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns has size, athleticism and room to get better. Just a shade below the first wave of edge rushers, Burns might end up topping them all. He played three seasons in college and finished with 10 sacks in 12 games last season before declaring for the draft.

At 6-foot-5, 249 pounds and with 4.53 speed, Burns would be used immediately as a nickel pass-rush specialist. That is fine. That is what the 49ers need, and eventually that role can expand.

Bust?

Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary should have been a dominant player in college. He was not. He has measurables off the charts, but not the production that should go along with it.

His skills and athleticism are freakish. But after three seasons of college football, he recorded a total – a total – of just 9.5 sacks. And, now, we’re supposed to believe that he is going to get 9.5 sacks a season while going up against better competition?

Gary has started his own sports agency. It seems like the best plan of attack would be to get established as a really good NFL player before devoting so much attention to marketing.

Boom?

Their new wide receivers coach was not there to work with him at the Senior Bowl, but South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel already showed what he can do in the 49ers’ offense.

Samuel has a trait that coach Kyle Shanahan likes in his wide receivers – the ability to get open. He is a very good route-runner, and he is tough. At 5-foot-11, 214 pounds, he might not have the size of some of the other receivers the 49ers might consider in the second round, but he has the ability to separate quickly.

Samuel would give the 49ers a nice tool in the red zone, where the club has struggled mightily the past two seasons.

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Bust?

The 49ers probably will not have the opportunity to pass on Ole Miss D.K. Metcalf in the second round, and that will be just fine for them.

Metcalf has otherworldly measurables. But Metcalf was far-and-away the second-best receiver on his college team. The 49ers should prefer A.J. Brown to Metcalf, who turned off more than a few people with the 49ers during their contentious meeting at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Metcalf is 6-3, 228 pounds. He ran a 4.33 at the combine. Yet, he put up pedestrian numbers in college – approximately half the production of Brown. Some team will take him in the middle of the first round, and that team will probably end up being disappointed.

Wes Welker, now 49ers coach, doesn't subscribe to Bill Belichick's methods

Wes Welker, now 49ers coach, doesn't subscribe to Bill Belichick's methods

Bill Belichick's Patriot Way has delivered unmatched success over the past two decades, with the legendary coach and quarterback Tom Brady winning six Super Bowl and appearing in three more.

Former wide receiver Wes Welker, now the 49ers receivers coach, thrived as one of Brady's main weapons, catching 672 passes for 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns in six seasons in New England. But Welker and the Patriots had a messy breakup, when Belichick chose not to attempt to re-sign the slot receiver when he hit the open market in 2013.

Belichick's way, while proven effective, can wear on players and Welker doesn't subscribe to the no-nonsense approach to coaching.

"I was still upset about it," Welker told WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" about his departure from the Pats. "I did want to be there, but there was part of me -- I just like enjoying the game. I like having fun, all those things. Coaching now, you learn a lot from the tactics and different things like that, but at the same time putting your own twist on it and understanding -- I tell my guys all the time: ‘As long as we’re giving great effort and we’re on top of our assignments we’re going to be good. Once it’s not where we need to be, that is when we have problems.’

“Kind of being there and there’s a big mental aspect to the game of being prepared, being this, being that, all those different things, but also enjoying yourself and having fun playing the game. I feel like you’re playing your best ball when you’re having fun and enjoying (yourself). I think there were some times where I didn’t really feel that at times for different reasons -- the guys that we had in the locker room, the camaraderie that we had was better some years than others. We had all these different things and when you’re one of the highest-paid players on the team you’re expected to deliver and like a highly paid player. There’s definitely pressure on that and all these different things is tough and it’s hard. Coach Belichick is hard on guys and tries to get the most out of him that he can.”

There's no question Belichick's my way or the highway attitude isn't for everyone. Even Brady chose to turn in his Patriot Way membership card this offseason, electing to finish his career in Tampa Bay with the Buccaneers.

[RELATED: Raiders, 49ers go offense/defense in latest mock draft]

Welker, who began his coaching career with the Houston Texans before joining the 49ers in 2019, no doubt has taken some motivational tricks from Belichick while also crafting his own way that allows his players to be disciplined but also enjoy the journey.

What 49ers' options are with $15.7M left in cap space this offseason

What 49ers' options are with $15.7M left in cap space this offseason

Two weeks into the new league year, and with most of the team’s contracts tabulated, the 49ers rank 20th in the NFL in room under the league’s salary cap.

According to figures released by the NFL Players Association, the 49ers have 74 players under contract for the 2020 season and are $15,741,039 under the league’s $198.2 million salary cap.

Only the top 51 players count toward each team’s salary cap until the cutdown to 53 players for the start of the regular season.

The figure does not include the recently signed one-year contract for backup offensive lineman Ben Garland or free-agent agreements with lineman Tom Compton and wide receiver Travis Benjamin.

The 49ers carried over $7.86 million of unused cap room from last year’s cap into 2020.

The 49ers must leave cap space this offseason to sign their rookie class. The 49ers have seven scheduled draft picks, including Nos. 13 and 31 in the first round.

The club is also expected to pursue a contract extension with tight end George Kittle, who is in line to become the NFL’s highest-paid tight end -- by a lot.

[RELATEDGeorge Kittle's new contract will be 49ers' next priority after free agency]

Kittle has one season remaining on his original rookie contract. Earlier this offseason, the Cleveland Browns signed tight end Austin Hooper to a four-year, $42 million contract.

Here is the list of salary cap space for each team (players under contract in parenthesis):

Houston (64) $45,834,619
N.Y. Jets (65) $45,018,663
Cleveland (65) $45,347,227
L.A. Chargers (53) $39,675,066
Tennessee (58) $33,186,101
Washington (68) $32,145,235
Detroit (76) $31,893,750
Denver (76) $28,875,754
Philadelphia (65) $28,544,977
Indianapolis (69) $27,540,144
Dallas (62) $27,310,030
Jacksonville (61) $23,485,088
Miami (78) $23,359,352
Buffalo (67) $23,172,999
Chicago (61) $22,122,887
N.Y. Giants (65) $18,571,509
Carolina (62) $17,508,922
L.A. Rams (55) $16,883,884
Raiders (73) $15,825,066
49ers (74) $15,741,039

Tampa Bay (62) $15,512,767
Cincinnati (62) $15,181,484
Green Bay (63) $13,580,733
Minnesota (59) $13,172,243
Baltimore (57) $12,230,579
Seattle (64) $11,919,646
Arizona (63) $10,360,175
New Orleans (64) $9,914,157
Pittsburgh (69) $9,344,614
Atlanta (60) $7,456,988
New England (67) $1,568,575
Kansas City (62) $676,971

Source: NFL Players Association.