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49ers Listening to Trade Offers, Vikings–Giants Proposals for No. 3 Pick

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Day 2 of the 2024 NFL draft is here and here’s what we know in front of Rounds 2 and 3 …

 

• The San Francisco 49ers are going to listen to offers for Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, but they’re not married to the idea of trading either of them. Selecting Florida receiver Ricky Pearsall, though, does give them a little more flexibility.

 

At a baseline, taking Pearsall with the 31st pick is a play for 2025. The team has Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings going into contract years, with Samuel signed through ’26. One way or the other, all three won’t be around a year from now, so getting top-end talent in the pipeline now makes sense for a team that doesn’t have many immediate needs.

 

The 49ers did look at the idea of trading back five or 10 spots for Pearsall. But chose not to due to the tackle supply running thin, a number of receiver-needy teams right behind them (Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers and Washington Commanders could take one, too) and Xavier Worthy getting picked by the Kansas City Chiefs in front of them. Second, there was the benefit of getting the fifth-year option on Pearsall.

 

On the second point, you’d normally associate that concept with quarterbacks, but the events of the past week helped tip the scale here, with Amon-Ra St. Brown getting $28 million per year and A.J. Brown getting $32 million per, and Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase megadeals coming down the pike (eventually). Having the option helps the 49ers with Aiyuk (a late first-rounder in 2020), and lacking it hurts with Samuel (a high second-rounder in ’19), so there’s another reason for San Francisco to want it with Pearsall.

With Brock Purdy on his rookie contract, the Niners could easily keep everyone. But they could also move someone, and it could be Samuel, who might be more tradeable with the terms left on his contract, with a plan to keep Aiyuk, who’s viewed as the team’s best pure receiver. Either way, having Pearsall, who drew some comparisons to Adam Thielen with the team, gives San Francisco options.

 

So we’ll see how the next few hours work out.

 

• So much was made of the Commanders’ mass prospect summit—some 22 players were in town for their 30 visits at once and, yes, the festivities kicked off at Topgolf—and what it meant for Heisman Trophy candidate Jayden Daniels’s chances of, and desire for, landing in the nation’s capital.

 

Turns out, he did get some special attention.

 

All four quarterbacks in town got one-on-one time with the football operations people, but the LSU quarterback was the only one to have an extended, exclusive meeting with new owner Josh Harris. The Commanders kept that detail under wraps for obvious reasons as the draft neared, but it telegraphed what was obvious. Daniels was the pick at No. 2—and that was pretty much through the draft process.

 

The hire of ex-Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, a spread-offense guru, as offensive coordinator was another sign of it, as was the signing of Marcus Mariota to be the veteran bridge quarterback.

 

Which is to say all the hysteria just wound up being a blip.

 

• The Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants did make offers to the New England Patriots for the No. 3 pick to take Drake Maye. Earlier this week, Minnesota offered the Nos. 11 and 23 picks, and its 2025 first-rounder, with pick swaps favoring the Vikings as part of the proposal; and that offer ticked up with New England on the clock. The Giants, meanwhile, did wind up putting their 2025 first-round pick in their offer to move from No. 6 to No. 3.

 

Ultimately, nothing came close to moving the Patriots off their choice. In fact, that Kevin O’Connell and Brian Daboll were the head coaches interested, only emboldened New England to stay put.

 

The Giants, of course, got a weapon for Daniel Jones, selecting star receiver  Malik Nabers. The Vikings, meanwhile, were emboldened to draw a line in the sand on trade terms, and work within their boundaries by the alternate plan to wait for J.J. McCarthy—knowing that the Atlanta Falcons had a visit with McCarthy canceled, the Giants were Maye-specific at the position, and the Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans, Chicago Bears and New York Jets wouldn’t take a quarterback—and use the trade-up assets to build around him. So they let the Michigan star come to them, flipping picks at ith the Jets just to be sure.

 

• A big part of why the Patriots selected Maye was his makeup, which they hope will lead to the development of his blue-chip traits.

 

The Patriots were immediately impressed with his football intelligence, and how driven he is by the sport. Then, there were the leadership qualities he very clearly brought to the table, and were displayed when New England drilled him on his 2023 struggles. With conditions around him changing after his breakout ’22 season, Maye’s play suffered last year. Yet, he refused to blame anyone else, player or coach, or anything else for any of it.

 

That kind of accountability went a long way for the Patriots staff.

 

• As for the quarterback who went after Maye with the eight pick, the Falcons did plenty of homework on Michael Penix Jr. A big group, led by GM Terry Fontenot, coach Raheem Morris and offensive coordinator Zac Robinson, flew from Atlanta to Seattle on the morning of April 6 to work Penix out privately, and to get to know him better.

 

Rumors thereafter percolated that the Falcons had fallen for Penix, who crushed the workout, and the McCarthy workout being called off solidified that they were a one-quarterback team like the Giants were with Maye.

 

Few figured the Falcons would actually take Penix at 8. Fewer knew just how much Atlanta liked him. He was the third quarterback on the Falcons’ board, behind only Chicago’s Caleb Williams and Daniels, and some in the organization actually had him second. And so with owner Arthur Blank said to be fond of the idea of having a succession plan at the position—something Atlanta lacked at the end with Matt Ryan—an idea became a reality.

 

• The Chargers’ decision to take Notre Dame OT Joe Alt may have been one of the simpler decisions any team made in the first round. Coming out of meeting with Alt, GM Joe Hortiz scrawled in his notes, You’d love to have this guy.

 

Now, he and coach Jim Harbaugh do.

 

Alt’s athleticism, length, presence, demeanor and intelligence painted the picture—in the Chargers’ eyes—of a guy with a very high floor nowhere near his ceiling. L.A. thinks he’ll get there because of his drive, and here’s where the Joe Thomas comps we had earlier in the week come into play. Thomas’s tape coming out of Wisconsin could be seen, at times, as unspectacular. But that was only because he was so smooth and athletic, and made things look easy. And where you could nitpick Thomas, he’d do the same, and fix problems.

 

All of that goes for Alt, too. Add that to the background of Harbaugh and Hortiz, who’ve always poured resources into their offensive line and the match was, again, easy.

 

• Two inquiries shot down over the past few weeks: The Chargers trading Justin Herbert (and a few teams called spurred by the idea that Harbaugh might go get McCarthy in the draft) and Washington trading the second pick.

 

• Iowa’s Cooper DeJean is among the best available players, and the Bills, sitting at 33, would be an excellent fit. Buffalo’s also taken calls on moving the pick.

 

• We mentioned Monday that Texas RB Jonathan Brooks could be in play for the Dallas Cowboys in the second round. Well, Jerry Jones said as much Thursday. Which means, if a teams wants him, it might want to take him ahead of Dallas, which picks at 56 tonight.

 

• How the tackles come off the board will be interesting, with New England (No. 34) and Washington (Nos. 36 and 40) having a big need, and Houston’s Patrick Paul, BYU’s Kingsley Suamataia and Washington’s Roger Rosengarten available, too.

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