Nick Bosa meeting with 49ers, seven other teams at NFL Scouting Combine

Nick Bosa meeting with 49ers, seven other teams at NFL Scouting Combine

INDIANAPOLIS — Nick Bosa has a full night scheduled for the eve of a full day of workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Arizona Cardinals hold the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and Bosa, the Ohio State star pass rusher, has been regarded as the likely top selection for the past year. But the buzz at the combine is that the Cardinals could just as easily select Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.

Would that be a mistake?

“Yeah,” Bosa said wryly. “Big mistake.”

Bosa is scheduled to meet Saturday night with the Cardinals and the 49ers, who hold the No. 2 pick. In fact, he is meeting each of the teams that have the top eight picks in the NFL draft, he said. The New York Jets, Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions hold picks No. 3 through No. 8.

It could come down to Murray versus Bosa for the Cardinals.

“I wouldn’t say anything about Kyler,” Bosa said. “I’d say I’m somebody who loves the game more than anybody. I’m going to come in and I’m going to work every day, every practice to find new ways to better myself.

“So if you do draft me, you’re getting somebody who is going to improve throughout my entire career.”

Murray is likely preferred over incumbent Josh Rosen to run new Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury’s system. But Bosa has a connection with the Cardinals, too. Former Ohio State linebackers coach Bill Davis was hired to the Arizona staff in January.

“It’s a dream come true,” Bosa said when asked about the thought of being chosen No. 1 overall. “That would obviously mean so much to me to be thought of as the best player in the draft.”

If Bosa falls in the draft, he would not tumble far, as he would fill the 49ers’ urgent need for an edge rusher. Bosa previously met 49ers general manager John Lynch during an Ohio State practice before this year's Rose Bowl.

Bosa missed most of his final season at Ohio State because of a bilateral core muscle injury, which required surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation. Bosa said he is 100 percent and will perform all of the on-field workout drills at the combine Sunday.

[RELATED: Murray-Cardinals meeting allows 49ers to dream about Bosa]

Bosa said he feels confident about his ability to step in and produce in the 49ers’ defensive scheme.

“I think I’d fit in very well,” Bosa said. “They got really good interior guys right now. They just need help on the edge. That’s what they told me. I think I’d be a true defensive end there, hand in the dirt. That’s something I like about them, for sure.”

Old 49ers-Odell Beckham trade idea shows NFL draft was better route


Old 49ers-Odell Beckham trade idea shows NFL draft was better route

NFL draft season prompts plenty of outlandish trade scenarios to fill airtime and word counts, many of which never come to fruition.

Dallas Morning News reporter Joseph Hoyt dug up one such scenario Thursday, and it's a (hypothetical) trade the 49ers are (hypothetically) glad they didn't (hypothetically) make.

The 49ers would've had to pay a pretty penny for then-New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the proposal put forth in a "Good Morning Football" segment nearly two years ago. Beckham was months away from signing a contract extension, so San Francisco would've traded a lot of draft capital for a star entering the final year of his contract. The picks the 49ers made in those slots formed the backbone of the 2019 NFC Champions.

Beckham's arrival would've changed things, though. The 49ers would've entered the season with arguably the best receiver in football as well as George Kittle, who'd emerge as arguably the best tight end. Kittle might not have set an NFL record for receiving yards by a tight end playing alongside Beckham, but he surely would've benefitted from the extra attention opposing defenses paid the receiver rather than him.

Do they still go 4-12 that year? The 49ers were 3-5 in games decided by six points or fewer in 2018, and Jimmy Garoppolo (torn ACL) missed all but one of those games. Beckham crossed the 1,000-yard threshold in just 12 games catching passes from Eli Manning in 2018, so it's -- at the very least -- conceivable he could've moved the needle in at least one of the 49ers' close losses.

[RELATED: Why 49ers should trade down from both first-round picks]

The 49ers would've picked no higher than No. 4 overall with a 5-11 record in 2018, and any additional wins would've dropped them further down the draft order. Acquiring Beckham under the parameters "Good Morning Football" put forth likely would've prevented the Niners from selecting all of Mike McGlinchey, Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel, but not all three of them would necessarily be Giants, either.

San Francisco would've been a better team in 2018, thus pushing the 49ers out of the slots they used to draft Bosa and Samuel. That's a different opportunity cost to consider than trading all of those players straight-up for one of the game's best receivers, but it's one the 49ers probably are glad they didn't have to pay.

2020 NFL Draft: Why 49ers should trade down both first-round picks

2020 NFL Draft: Why 49ers should trade down both first-round picks

The 49ers had only six picks in the 2020 NFL Draft before trading Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts. San Francisco owned the No. 31 pick, and no others until the fifth round.

That trade brought in the No. 13 pick, but the 49ers probably aren't done dealing. Trading down to acquire more, much-needed draft capital is the likeliest scenario.

While much of the 49ers Faithful drool over what the top wide receivers in the draft would look like in coach Kyle Shanahan’s system, it's far from a given that the team will use that first pick on a receiver. For one, the 49ers still don't own any picks in the second, third and fourth rounds. For another, receiver is one of the deepest positions in the draft and the 49ers arguably have a bigger need.

Joe Staley is under contract through the 2021 season, but the veteran left tackle was understandably emotional after the 49ers' loss in Super Bowl LIV. Right tackle Mike McGlinchey indirectly indicated that Staley’s decision to return for the 2020 season was not set in stone.

The 49ers would be best served in hedging their bet that Staley returns and using one of their first-round picks on a left tackle. Even if Staley returns, the 49ers will need a replacement for him in the not-so-distant future. 

The draft's top tackles likely will be taken before the 49ers' first pick, but there still should be quality options available in the 20s or later. The 49ers could trade down, while Houston's Josh Jones or USC's Austin Jackson is still available, and then acquire another pick.

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Let's say trading the No. 13 pick nets the 49ers a first- and early second-round pick. Dealing the No. 31 pick would also come into play.

The 49ers drafted Deebo Samuel No. 36 overall in 2019. Samuel proved to be very productive in Shanahan’s system, catching 57 of his 81 targets for 802 yards. He ranked second on the team in receiving yards only behind First Team All-Pro tight end George Kittle. 

Shanahan's staff had an advantage in getting to know Samuel while at the Senior Bowl, but they have shown that a second-round receiver can become a key contributor. 

[RELATED: Buckner's exit could influence 49ers to trade down in draft]

Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson's draft trade value chart lists the No. 31 pick as worth a mid-second-round pick and a high third-round pick or a high second-round pick and a mid-fourth-round pick, among other permutations. Trading both first-round picks could give the 49ers three additional picks in rounds where they currently have none.

The 49ers would end draft weekend with nine selections in this scenario, as opposed to their original six. They'd also have fresh, valuable talent at important positions on their roster.