The Cleveland Browns selected defensive end Myles Garrett with the first pick of the National Football League Draft in Philadelphia on Thursday before the Chicago Bears made a stunning call by trading up for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
The Bears, slated to draft third behind the 49ers, sent three other picks to San Francisco to swap first-round places and leapfrog them to select the North Carolina quarterback.
While Trubisky comes with some question marks due to inexperience, Garrett was the consensus top player available in this year’s draft of the best U.S. college football players.
The 21-year-old Garrett, who played for Texas A&M and is considered an elite edge rusher with rare explosiveness, joins a Browns team that went a league-worst 1-15 last season.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the announcement after being showered with boos during his welcome words for the estimated 70,000 that packed the road stretching from the main stage in an open-air theater built on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Garrett, who has drawn comparisons to longtime NFL standout Julius Peppers, had 11.5 sacks as a freshman and the next season was a finalist for the Lombardi and Hendricks Awards as college football’s top defender with 12.5 sacks and five forced fumbles.
Despite a knee injury early in 2016, Garrett still registered 15 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks in 11 games.
The first big surprise of the night did not take long as the Bears handed the Niners their third-round pick (67th overall) and fourth-round choice and Chicago’s third-rounder next year to guarantee they could add Trubisky to their roster.
“I didn’t see it coming at all, it’s been a mystery,” Trubisky told NFL Network. “I’m so happy to be a Chicago Bear.”
Trubisky made only 13 career starts at North Carolina, throwing 41 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his college career.
The 49ers then took defensive end Solomon Thomas, who played his college career at nearby Stanford.
The Jacksonville Jaguars followed by claiming powerful running back Leonard Fournette of LSU and the Tennessee Titans took wide receiver Corey Davis from Western Michigan.
Another team eager for a quarterback produced the next big shock, Kansas City Chiefs moving up 17 places in a deal with the Buffalo Bills to take Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech with the 10th selection of the round.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue/Peter Rutherford)