The San Francisco 49ers have traded a 5th round pick for a former top ten draftee. Return Specialist/Wide Receiver Ted Ginn Jr., joins the team after three seasons of underwhelming production. With this move, the 49ers address one of their most questionable positions. It’s a little odd for a team and its fans to be so enthusiastic about adding a return specialist, but after last year’s pathetic attempt at a return game, the cheers can be heard around Niner Nation.
Ginn was never much of a receiver, and Miami had originally drafted him in hopes he’d be, “the next Devin Hester.” He never did, and with the addition of Brandon Marshall, Ginn became expendable and the 49ers cashed in. In his three seasons in Miami, his best receiving year yielded mediocre results. 56 receptions, 790 yards and two touchdowns. He was however, able to accumulate a nice return average of 23 yards. Ginn is also fresh off his best kick return season as he brought back his first and second touchdown returns. He may just be hitting his stride, and his services come at a discount.
What troubles me though, is a 5th round draft pick seems a little high, when you consider the other trades that have occurred this off-season. Anquan Boldin gets traded for a 3rd rounder. Donovan McNabb gets traded within the division for a 2nd round draft pick. And one of the most puzzling, Santonio Holmes, a former Super Bowl MVP, just entering the prime of his career, is let go for a 5th round pick. The Holmes to the Jets trade happened so quickly and abruptly, I assume the Steelers weren’t comparison shopping and shipped him off as soon as possible. But when a player of that caliber is traded for the same price as an under-performing one, I can’t help but wish the 49ers were given a chance to bid. Nevertheless, I am excited to have Ginn on as the much needed return man.
Ginn will be used primarily as the return specialist, and probably sprinkled in as a third or fourth wide receiver. His versatility will make him useful in gadget plays. He will no longer be burdened with being a high draft choice, his only responsibility is to return kicks and punts. The release of that kind of psychological pressure should allow him to play naturally, instead of over-playing his ability.
What’s most important, is the trade now allows the front office to focus on the draft without worrying about finding a return specialist. The offensive line, and pass rushing can now be addressed without wasting the man power of scouting a returner. I see those needs, and a little more depth at defensive back as the only holes that need to be plugged. With the draft less than a week away, it’s nice to know a need has been filled, and the team is improving.