Writers Note: Justin Blackmon is not included in the draft poll because it is a virtual certainty he is out of the 49ers reach, as his top 5 status dictates. Coby Fleener is also not included because he is listed as a tight end.
At Niners Nation, we are introducing a pre-draft series that will allow the 49ers faithful to create a big board for the upcoming draft on April 26th. By polling you, we will collect data to organize the potential prospects that would be applicable to San Francisco's draft strategy. In this first edition, we kick off with the wide receiving position.
The wide receiving group coming out this year is deep, and there is plenty of talent to go around. The Niners could address the position as early as their first selection, but with the offensive line in need of high quality attention, San Francisco will likely pick outside the first round if their man doesn't fall to number 30.
If San Francisco were to pick in the first, the group of potential available players may look like Rueben Randle (LSU), Mohamed Sanu (Rutgers), Alshon Jefferey (South Carolina), Stephen Hill (Georgia Tech) and possibly Michael Floyd (Notre Dame).
First of all, every one of these players is talented in their own way; some guys are physical, some are lengthy, some have great speed, some are versatile and some have better hands than others. Hill wouldn't be someone the 49ers would pass up if he fell to them in the first round, and he seems to be popular amongst Niners fans already.
Jefferey and Floyd could fall to San Francisco for similar reasons, and those are character issues. A lot of teams frown on that sort of thing, especially when spending a first round pick. However, Jim Harbaugh and the Niners seem okay gambling on character issue guys, having brought in Randy Moss and Perrish Cox already this offseason.
The later round guys are a deep class and it might be tough to find the gem in the bunch. But to mention a few names that could really be a good fit for the 49ers, I'd have to say Juron Criner (Arizona), Brian Quick (Appalachian State), Tommy Streeter (Miami), Marvin Jones (California), Marvin McNutt (Iowa) and Dwight Jones (North Carolina).
If San Francisco uses their first overall pick on anything but receiver, I'd like and maybe expect them to get two receivers in the later rounds. Criner has great hands and body control, along with deceiving speed and the statistics to back it. I really like his potential, and believe he could do great things in the right system in the NFL.
Marvin Jones is a pick I like for a couple reasons; the first being that he's an in-state guy having played at Cal. But Jones is a playmaker that plays bigger than his 6'1" frame would indicate -- he leaps for the ball and catches away from his body. And I always like a hands receiver, which he's proven to be with his great concentration.
Quick, Jones and Streeter are all guys I like for the 49ers for the same reason: they're big lengthy guys who can come down with the football. I still think San Francisco needs a big tall pass catcher at the wide receiver position, especially with Randy Moss only on a one-year deal. One of these guys could learn behind Moss and since they all have a lot of upside, it may pan out better than expected.
So, don't forget to vote for who you'd like to see in a red and gold uniform come 2012. This sample may be heavy on the first round prospects but I encourage you not to be afraid to go with your gut on one of the sleeper late round guys who could really blossom as a 49er.
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