NFL Draft: 49ers make two trades en route to defensive back Green, offensive lineman Puni


SANTA CLARA — The 49ers pulled off a pair of trades on Day 2 of the NFL Draft. Neither involved shipping away a heralded wide receiver. Rather, they involved deals with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles, the franchises that ended their past two seasons short of the Lombardi Trophy.

For Friday night’s effort, the 49ers selected defensive back Rendardo Green to end the second round, then they moved up eight spots to take offensive lineman Dominick Puni in the third round.

A run on offensive tackles presumably prompted the 49ers to slide the No. 63 spot to the Kansas City Chiefs, thus moving the Niners down one slot for Florida State’s Green. As part of that deal, the 49ers acquired a fifth-round pick (No. 173 overall) and sent a sixth-rounder (No. 211) to their two-time Super Bowl nemesis.

Renardo Green, FSU 

Green brings versatility and speed to the secondary, after five seasons at Florida State.

“They fit me. They fit me,” Green said on a video conference with Bay Area media. “They play like some savages, they play like some dogs. Everybody flies around to the ball, everybody makes plays on the ball, everybody comes to hit and play.

“It’s a high-energy, attacking defense,” Green added. “They don’t sit back and let the offense come at them. No, they attack.”

A freshman cornerback in 2019, he spent the next two seasons at safety but also lined up in the slot, which is a job the 49ers looked to fill this draft. He moved back to cornerback the past two seasons, and he noted how he went up against LSU’s prolific tandem of quarterback Jayden Daniels and wide receiver Malik Nabers, who were selected Nos. 2 and 6 in Thursday’s first round.

Green has one interception in 52 career games, but the 49ers noted he had 13 pass breakups, 14 passes defended and 43 tackles last season. They initially listed him as a cornerback.

Green was in touch through the pre-draft process with secondary coach Daniel Bullocks. “I didn’t think they’d pull the trigger on me,” Green added.

Green thought those casual conversations with Green built trust between the two, adding: “One thing he said was he wouldn’t want to fight me, and I asked him why. He said, ‘I feel you’d fight until you die.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, it’s supposed to be like that. That is what a dog is. You ever seen a dog fight?’ He’s seen how I am: a dog and tenacious football player; an instinctive, athletic football player; and, a versatile, smart football player ”

After three cornerbacks went in the first round, six followed in the second round before Green went to the 49ers.

In the third round, the 49ers sent their original slot at No. 94 overall as well as a fourth-round draft pick (No. 132 overall) to the Eagles, with that maneuver delivering Puni, a Kansas product who figures to challenge at guard or tackle.

Puni spent four years at Central Missouri before becoming Kansas’ left tackle the past two seasons. He allowed no sacks in 343 pass-blocking snaps last season, according to ProFootballFocus.com.

Puni visited the 49ers’ facility and was told they envision him more as an interior lineman, though he could play tackle in a pinch. The 49ers return all starting linemen from last season.

“The path has been crazy,” Puni said. “I started at Central Missouri. Shout out to small school guys. … My ambition is I want to help the team in any way. My thing is versatility, wherever I can play and help. The Niners is a really fun offense to play in and I’m real excited.”

Earlier Friday, first-round pick Ricky Pearsall Jr. arrived at Levi’s Stadium with his family, and while he deftly handled his media obligations, he said he was eager to obtain the playbook and embed himself in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

One spot before the 49ers’ original turn in the second round, they saw the Baltimore Ravens snatch up Washington’s Roger Rosengarten, the third offensive tackle to go in an eight-pick span. Then, at No. 63, the Chiefs slid into the 49ers’ slot and took BYU offensive tackle Kingsley Suamatia.

Meanwhile, speculation continued to swirl whether the 49ers might trade fellow wide receiver Deebo Samuel, a more likely candidate that Brandon Aiyuk since the first-round collateral had been spent Thursday. Samuel told The Athletic’s Dianna Russini his initial impression of Pearsall’s addition: “I know what’s going on, but it is what it is. I’m good staying with them. I’m chilling.”

The 49ers are set to enter Saturday with five picks: fourth round, No. 135; fifth round, Nos. 173 and 176; sixth round, No. 215; and, seventh round, No. 251.

 

 



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