The 2014 San Francisco 49ers season is over, but there is always things to look back on. General Manager Trent Baalke spoke to Damon Bruce in an interview with 95.7 the Game, answering questions about the season, but one in particular stood out.
Bruce asked Baalke about any rumors on the 49ers being interested in New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr during the 2014 NFL Draft. Baalke responded saying that he thought about trading up for Beckham, even though they drafted No. 30 overall.
“Would we have loved to have had him? I guess after the fact, which is what, hindsight is 20/20, would we have loved to have had him? Yes,” Baalke said. “Would we have loved to have him on draft day where we were picking? Absolutely. Did we think he was going to get to us, absolutely not. Were we willing to give up what it would have taken to go up and get him. The answer is no. And that’s why we didn’t make the move.”
Baalke told Bruce that, at minimum, it would have cost a first, second and third round pick to trade up for Beckham. Coming into the 2014 NFL Draft, the 49ers had two 2nd-round picks (one acquired for Alex Smith) and two-third round picks as well as their first-round pick (30th overall) as ammunition to move up.
The 49ers made multiple trade sequences in the second round, trading down and later going back up to select RB Carlos Hyde. Baalke also traded down his own second round pick into the early third round to select C Marcus Martin.
They also picked up a fifth-round pick (used to select LB Aaron Lynch) and a future fourth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft besides picks to move up for Hyde as a result of the trades. DB Jimmie Ward was selected with the No. 30 overall pick in the first round while the 49ers took LB Chris Borland with their second 3rd-round pick.
The New York Giants selected Beckham with the No. 12 overall pick, making him the third WR taken in the draft behind Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans. Baalke did not reveal who the 49ers could have traded with, but he also said there was no guarantee making the move would be high enough to take him. The rookie WR’s stock increased heavily in weeks prior to the draft where he might have been out of reach.
Beckham will be in the hunt for Offensive Rookie of the Year. He missed preseason and the first four games of the season due to injury, but finished the year with 1,305 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in only 12 games. Beckham is remembered for making a few insane catches with one hand throughout the year.
He was named a Pro Bowl alternate and Offensive Rookie of the Month for November. Beckham has also contributed as a punt returner.
“Odell Beckham has done a good job,” New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning said in a conference call in November. “Especially for a guy who [has] missed all of training camp, all of OTAs and the first four weeks of the season. He’s come in and played well for us and made plays and gave us some explosive plays and made some catches.”
Baalke defended his non-decision to trade up for Beckham, saying it would cost too much. He told Bruce that it was a collective decision to not move up and take the wide receiver and not one of disagreement.
“That was a decision that we made,” Baalke said. “And we knew that in order to get up high enough to get a player of that caliber, it was going to take too much ammunition to get up there, so we chose not to.”