49ers Ready For Another Championship Run After Trent Williams Trade

Liam McKeone
Trent Williams
Trent Williams / Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
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The San Francisco 49ers entered the 2020 NFL Draft with fewer picks than nearly any other team. Thanks to the wheeling and dealing of John Lynch, the Niners had two first-round picks but no selections in the second, third, or fourth round. Thus, most pegged the Niners as a very likely team to trade down and accumulate more picks not just in the first round, but throughout the draft. They did trade down once-- from No. 13 to No. 14 for a fourth-round pick-- but that was the end of the conservative moves.

The Niners traded up from their No. 31 spot on Thursday night to pick Arizona State receiver Brandon Aiyuk. On Saturday, they sent a fifth-round pick this year and a third-round pick next year to Washington for the services of Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams. While this means the Niners will impossibly exit the 2020 draft with fewer selections than they had going in, it's a big aquisition and clearly communicates that Lynch and Co. feel their team is only a few pieces away from finishing the job.

San Francisco went with a high-potential player in Javon Kinlaw with their first pick, igniting an argument in the Slack chat between myself and TBL's mock draft guru, Ryan Phillips. Ryan argued they needed a tackle more than another defensive lineman with the future of Joe Staley still up in the air, and not only did they take Kinlaw instead, they declined the opportunity to take a sliding Tristian Wirfs. I felt Kinlaw's talent made the risk-reward balance appropriate, and it was a deep tackle draft, so they could always address the position later, even if it significantly increased the likelihood of a downgrade from Staley.

Apparently Lynch is more aligned with my thinking (suck it, Phillips). The Williams trade is aggressive and a bit of a risk; giving up more draft picks makes putting a competitive and cost-effective team around Jimmy Garoppolo all the more difficult, and Williams is on the wrong side of 30 with a lot of miles on those legs. But while Staley played at a reasonably high level last year, Williams is on another level at this point in their respective careers. He sat out last season and will come into training camp healthy and extremely motivated to prove people wrong.

Still, a bit of a risk. But Lynch would be correct to think the Niners were this close to a Super Bowl ring last year. They had a lead in the fourth quarter against Patrick Mahomes and were inches from a touchdown with less than two minutes to go. When faced with such success, the risk-averse NFL logic suggests the roster is quite solid, and it would be wise to avoid any big swings to ensure a similar level of success next season. Lynch does not agree. The trade-up for Aiyuk and the Williams acquisition suggest he knows just how close they were.

He isn't content to rest on his laurels. Lynch doesn't want San Francisco reloaded for 2020. He wants them better than ever-- and the Williams trade is definitely a step in the right direction.

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