According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, there has been some buzz around the league that the San Francisco 49ers are interested in trading up in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The notion that the Niners are willing to make a move should come as no surprise, considering they have done so in the past to secure prospects like Anthony Davis, Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid. If the team is considering doing the same this year, here are some players to keep an eye on.
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
With Michael Crabtree due to hit the open market after the season and Anquan Boldin‘s salary increasing significantly in 2015, it’s possible the cupboard could be bare at the wide receiver position in a couple of years. To avoid having to overpay on the free agent market, the 49ers could make a play for Mike Evans.
The 6-foot-5 wideout would give the team a weapon whose size could be an advantage in the red zone. He also has the ability to stretch the field, something neither Crabtree or Boldin can do consistently.
Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
With NaVorro Bowman out for most of the season and the future of Aldon Smith in doubt, the 49ers could decide to give their linebacking corps a boost and select Khalil Mack. Some scouts believe that Mack is the best player in the draft, and he’s been rumored to go as high as pick No. 2. While it’s unlikely San Francisco would move up that far, they might jump on Mack should he fall into the back end of the top 10.
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Gilbert is a playmaker in every sense of the term, as he returned two of his Big 12-leading seven interceptions for touchdowns last season. He played at a consistently high level for much of his 2013 season and has the size and speed to lock down some of the bigger receivers in the NFL. In addition to his coverage skills, Gilbert can also provide a spark in the return game. He took six kicks back for scores during his collegiate career.
Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
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