Will Jim Harbaugh Find His Jerry Rice in the 2012 NFL Draft?

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 17: Michael Floyd #3 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish catches the ball while Darqueze Dennard #31 of the Michigan State Spartans works to break up the pass during the first half September 17, 2011at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)

In the 2012 NFL Draft, the first round is loaded with wide receiver prospects. In fact, this is one of the deepest wide receiver classes overall we've seen recently. In the 1985 NFL Draft, the 49ers were slated to pick at No. 28 before trading up to No. 16 with New England. With that pick, the 49ers selected the third wide receiver taken in the draft; a wide receiver from Mississippi Valley State named Jerry Rice.

Before Rice, Wisconsin's Al Toon was selected by the New York Jets and the University of Miami's Eddie Brown was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals at No.'s 10 and 13, respectively. But Rice was the only Hall of Fame wide out taken.

In this year's draft, I think the 49ers would be best to eliminate prospects from their list of wide receivers, since there are so many with first round status', even though we know not all of them will be successful. And some significantly more successful than others.

The 49ers will host Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, and they reportedly met with LSU's Rueben Randle already this month. That's a good indication that they're taking a good, hard look at the first round prospects at wide receiver. And if Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke really like what they see from one of them, they may even trade up like Bill Walsh in '85.

The other possibly attainable prospects that carry first round status are Kendall Wright, Alshon Jefferey and Stephen Hill.

If the 49ers were going to eliminate prospects to hone in on a few, I would scratch off Wright and Jefferey. Wright is no longer a need, with Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams and even Michael Crabtree. And you don't know what you're going to get with Jefferey -- I could see him falling out of the first almost like Da'Quan Bowers did.

This leaves Floyd, Randle and Hill; but which one has the potential for pure greatness? And which one fits the 49ers best?

These are the things rolling around in Harbaugh and Co.'s heads in San Francisco. Hill could fall to the Niners but I could see Harbaugh pulling a Walsh and trading up for Floyd if he really strikes an accord with the youngster. He clearly looks beyond a player's past, so Floyd shouldn't be ruled out as a potential prospect for the 49ers.

Since the Chicago Bears traded for Brandon Marshall and still need more players and picks, I think San Francisco could trade up from No. 30 to No. 19 and select Floyd. They could also propose trades to Cincinnati (21) or Cleveland (22), who both have two first rounders.

It would be very similar to when Walsh selected Rice, and we're all pretty fine with how that worked out.

Follow me on Twitter: @DeSimone80

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