The Tampa Bay Buccaneers probably didn’t need to move up one spot in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft to get the player they wanted.
But Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht has reason to believe Joe Staley was going to retire, forcing the 49ers to draft offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs, as NBC Sports’ Peter King documented.
Tampa likely could have stayed at No. 14 and gotten Wirfs, but fear makes people do weird things.
As one anonymous NFL executive told The Athletic’s Mike Sando, the Bucs did too much.
“That was an overreaction,” the executive said, “but Wirfs is a perfect fit for them. I love (Antoine) Winfield. Great football player. Really like this class overall. Productive players in college that all have an element of versatility to them. I just didn’t like the trade from 14 to 13.”
The 49ers sent the No. 13 overall pick and a seventh-round pick to Tampa for No. 14 overall and a fourth-round pick. Tampa got Wirfs and San Francisco drafted South Carolina defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw.
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That fourth-round pick came in handy, as general manager John Lynch was able to package it with the No. 31 overall pick and sent them to the Minnesota Vikings for the No. 25 overall pick, where he drafted Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.
Licht ended up being right as Staley did retire on Day 3 of the draft. But the 13-year NFL veteran waited until the 49ers were able to acquire Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams from Washington before officially hanging up his cleats.
While that first executive didn’t like what the Bucs did, a second anonymous NFL exec praised how things turned out for the 49ers.
“I do like what the Niners did,” the second executive told Sando. “You trade a future third and a fifth for Trent Williams and use Kinlaw as the Buckner replacement and trade back up to get Brandon Aiyuk, which should be great, another Deebo Samuel type for that Shanahan offense. Basically, they trade down one spot from 13, which allowed them to trade up to get Aiyuk. Good job manipulating the board and getting three starters.”[RELATED: Blair labels Kinlaw a ‘beast’]
While other teams panicked, the 49ers stayed calm and replaced all three key departures — DeForest Buckner, Emmanuel Sanders and Staley — with draft picks and trade acquisitions.