Sakamoto: Why 49ers May Trade With Chargers or Cowboys For DB Jalen Ramsey


The last time the San Francisco 49ers held a first-round pick this high was back in the 2011 NFL Draft when they selected converted DE to OLB Aldon Smith. Ironically, it was also the No. 7 overall selection. Today, the 49ers find themselves playing a little deja vu as they find themselves once again selecting in the top 10. And while ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper pegged the Forever Faithful selecting Michigan State T Jack Conklin in his latest mock draft, I have the 49ers making a bolder move by trading up with either the San Diego Chargers or Dallas Cowboys in order to select DB Jalen Ramsey.

Draft day can get a bit chaotic and 49ers GM Trent Baalke isn’t one to show all of his cards. The 49ers have a glaring need at cornerback, and while they are rumored to be interested in making a run at All-Pro CB Josh Norman, I have an itch it’s just a smoke-screen, as I believe the team may be higher on the Florida State defensive back.

At Ramsey’s pro day, Chargers DBC Ron Milus was seen working extensively with Ramsey while the team had their regional scout on hand. The Chargers desperately need a left tackle as QB Philip Rivers was sacked 40 times making LT Laremy Tunsil the logical choice at No. 3, however, ESPN Analyst Todd McShay is hearing the team covets Ramsey more inside that war room.

“Protecting Philip Rivers would seem like the bigger priority, so Laremy Tunsil and Ronnie Stanley are distinct possibilities. But I keep hearing Ramsey,” McShay said.

If this is the case, the 49ers would have to strike a deal with the Chargers in order to secure his services. However, if the Chargers select Tunsil, do not be surprised if Baalke then dials up a phone call to Cowboys VP/Director of Player Personnel Stephen Jones and try to facilitate a trade.

Baalke and Jones have done business in the past with first-round trades, as the 49ers and Cowboys swapped first-round picks back in 2013, which helped the 49ers land FS Eric Reid at No. 18 while the Cowboys selected C Travis Frederick at No. 31. The 49ers had the ammo to make moves, as they had 13 picks entering the draft, so giving up their third-round pick (No. 74) in a one-for-two deal was well worth their investment.

How many draft picks do the 49ers have this year? 12. Not to mention, this trade makes sense on so many levels as Ohio State RB Ezekial Elliott and/or DE Joey Bosa will be there at No. 7, so the Cowboys still get one of their top three guys while addressing a top need.

If there’s one trait that Baalke loves in his first-round picks, I would have to say it’s their versatility and Ramsey has that box checked.

“He can play all the positions. He can play corner, he can match the big receiver. He can play the field. He can play off. He can mirror a little guy. He can play a tight-end. He can tackle. He can play a back out of the backfield and he’s a great blitzer. You’re talking about a guy who’s a tremendous blitzer off the edge,” said Florida State HC Jimbo Fisher. 

That’s definitely music to Baalke’s ears.

The next trait that Baalke loves is unique measurables. Let’s look at CB Chris Culliver’s numbers. He ran a 4.40 40-yard dash, displayed explosion with a 38.5-inch vertical, and showed elite hip strength with a 6.88 3-cone drill. Ramsey compares favorably as he ran a 4.41, jumped out of the gym with a 41.5-inch vertical, and 6.94 3-cone drill. Not to mention, Baalke loves defensive backs who are at least 6-0, 200-plus pounds, Ramsey has that box checked, standing 6-1, 209, with an added bonus arm-length of 33-plus inches.

In 2013, Baalke wanted to hide his hand, as Reid did not come in for a pre-draft visit, making him the only first-round Baalke pick to not come to Santa Clara. When asked why Reid wasn’t in for a pre-draft visit, Baalke said, “Why would we want to advertise to the rest of the league that we have interest in a player?”

Baalke said all pre-draft visits are complete and he met with 28 prospects. Did Ramsey come to Levi’s Stadium as one of those 28? That remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, Baalke has the ammunition to make another deal for a first-round defensive back, as I have Ramsey being the 49ers first-round pick when it’s all said and done.

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.