We found out Friday morning, per NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora, that the 49ers sent a fifth-round draft pick to the Dolphins for WR Ted Ginn Jr.
There’s a lot to like about this deal for the 49ers, with not much risk in involving a fifth-round pick. The player taken with that pick might never play in the league, but Ginn has something that will always guarantee him a job: Speed.
At the very least, Ginn is a return threat — a need for the 49ers. I caught up with NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger to get his take on the trade:
“First-round picks have to prove that they can’t play in the NFL. Ginn Jr. is going to get another chance to prove he can play, because Miami doesn’t believe he can.
“The 49ers are trying to stockpile talent. They got Michael Crabtree last year, they hope Alex Smith is the answer at quarterback, and they have two first-round picks. Maybe they take an offensive tackle or running back. Overall, they’re trying to upgrade their talent and they’ve added a former first-round pick. At the very least, he’s going to be the kick returner, giving them a special-teams boost.
“Don’t forget, the 49ers began using a spread offense more last season. Often, it was because they were behind. But it does seem to be what Smith does best. Maybe you get Ginn Jr. on the field in the four-receiver sets. You could put him side-by-side with Crabtree and have him run the routes that clear out over the top with Crabtree underneath. Put that speed on the field.
“I don’t think the 49ers will go full spread this season. They would rather, but they weren’t good at that. The best way they moved the football was to spread it out. Ginn Jr. could be their No. 3 receiver. He’s had limited opportunities, and this is a good change for him after three seasons. You want to get three guys who can play out of the draft, and the 49ers already got one.”