49ers stockpiling 2013 draft picks

It’s difficult to keep up with the quick pace of the NFL draft’s late rounds, especially when ESPN doesn’t verbally announce every pick or trade as they happen.

While teams are announcing picks or trades, the Worldwide Leader shows mind-numbing video packages or analysis from 17 different experts.

If you were able to keep up with the ticker at the bottom of the screen though, you noticed that the 49ers kept trading down. Trading down might seem like a strange strategy, but General Manager Trent Baalke had a plan.

On Saturday, during the third round, the 49ers swapped their #92 pick with Indianapolis for their fourth round pick (No. 97) and a fifth round pick in the 2013 draft.

In possession of two fourth rounds picks (No. 97 and No. 125), Baalke flipped No. 97 to Miami for their fourth round pick (No. 103), a sixth round pick (which they later traded to move to down a few spots) and a sixth rounder in next year’s draft.

Presumably with no players they really wanted at No. 103, the 49ers sent that pick to Carolina for a sixth rounder and a third round pick in next year’s draft. The 49ers used the sixth round pick to draft Michigan State safety Trenton Robinson.

In later rounds the 49ers went on to acquire third, fifth and sixth round picks in next year’s draft. Additionally, last August they jettisoned troubled free safety Taylor Mays to Cincinnati for a seventh round pick in 2013.

That gives Baalke and Harbaugh a whopping 11 guaranteed picks to work with in next year’s draft. Baalke told SI’s Peter King:

“I’d be lying to suggest building up that many picks was our intention at the start of it. But we were able to turn the pick over three times and get our guy [lineman Joe Looney at No. 117].”

King also reports the 49ers stand to receive compensatory picks for losing Adam Snyder and Josh Morgan in free agency.

13 potential draft picks is a lot of ammo for a shrewd general manager like Baalke. Based on his tactics over the weekend, you can expect him to flip a few of those picks again in 2013, either to move up or down or to collect picks for 2014.