With free agency set to begin in a matter of hours, the moves by teams during the period will heavily dictate what they decide to do in April's draft. The San Francisco 49ers are expected to add wide receivers to bolster their depleted corps, having already come to terms with future Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss.
Regardless of who they add in free agency, the wide out position will be one of need when the 49ers man the war room next month. It just depends on when and where they select a wide receiver.
A lot of analysts, including NFL Draft specialists Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, have predicted on more than one occasion that San Francisco will select Stephen Hill with their 30th overall pick in the draft. Hill's stock has been steadily rising after his monster day at the NFL Combine.
Running a sub-4.4 at the draft will get you recognition, but it's his 6'4, 215-pound frame and great hands that really embodies the total package of what the 49ers are looking for. And many will say that Hill's projected draft status may make it difficult for the Niners to grab Hill; that they'd either be too early or too late.
Whether or not the 49ers bring in another outside free agent wide receiver, they'd be wise to make a strong push for Hill. With the right coaching and environment, this kid could be the next superstar receiver in only a couple years. And the 49ers have a spectacular staff with experience and the know-how to get the best out of Hill.
And even if the Niners bring in another receiver, there is still a chance that they lose Joshua Morgan or Ted Ginn Jr. or both. We just don't know. But even if San Francisco managed to bring those guys back, the receiving corps still needs an upgrade and long-term solution to the #1 receiving slot because Michael Crabtree isn't it and Moss is 35-years-old.
With Moss, who has a similar build as Hill, the rookie couldn't learn from anyone better in my opinion. One year behind Moss could be game changing for Hill, and a friendly competition could develop between the two. It'd be a great influence in terms of transitioning to the pro level.
Moss and Hill look so similar, with big, lengthy figures and game breaking speed; guys who can make spectacular catches and excel at the ever-so-popular nine-route or go-route. Moss could provide the tutelage to Hill, showing him how to use his body and snatch the ball at it's highest point.
If Hill was gotten by San Francisco, and turned into the receiver his potential dictates he could be, pairing him with Crabtree could be a multi-year fix to a long troubled position in the Bay. The 49ers haven't had a premier pass catching wide receiver since the days of Terrell Owens, and if it means taking Hill four of five picks 'too high,' I'm fine with it.
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