It would be a waste for the 49ers to keep all 12 of their draft picks, plus the three compensatory picks which can’t be traded, for a total of 15 selections, because there is no way all of those players could make the Niners’ roster or practice squad.
The 49ers could improve more by packaging picks to trade up in the first round this year or to trade for a first round pick next year. Trent Baalke cannot passively accumulate picks because the Niners will be facing a more difficult schedule including an improved NFC West.
If the 49ers choose to trade up this year, they should get a defensive back, not a defensive lineman. Top CB prospects Dee Milliner and Xavier Rhodes could start and play every down for the 49ers. Any defensive lineman the Niners could draft – Sheldon Richardson, Jesse Williams, Alex Okafor, etc. – would play about 30 percent of the snaps at nose tackle or subbing just in nickel situations.