Mike Mayock discusses wide receivers, depth of 2014 NFL Draft class

Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers head into the 2014 NFL Draft with 11 (soon to be 12) picks. Mike Mayock discussed the considerable depth across the board in his annual pre-Combine conference call.

Tuesday marked the first major media appearance for NFL Draft guru Mike Mayock. The NFL Network analyst conducted a conference call that lasted 2 hours and 42 minutes, and saw him answer somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 questions. The man is an absolute machine! You can check out the full transcript, but I thought I'd pull out some of content pertinent to 49ers needs.

Mayock was not asked specifically about the 49ers at 30 or their needs, but he was asked some general questions that are very applicable to the team. Additionally, there were some other team specific questions that could provide a little bit of insight into what the 49ers could in turn decide to do.

Mayock views this as the deepest and best draft he's seen in at least a decade. There is depth across the board, which we know bodes well for the 49ers. The team has 11 draft picks, with a 12th coming when compensatory picks are announced. The team actually has to hit on these picks of course, but the 49ers are at least in a strong position to do some damage this year.

I saw a couple questions related to wide receivers that were worth pulling out. I could see the 49ers making a move up in the first round, but that seems more likely for cornerback, or maybe safety depending on the situation. However, Mayock got a couple wide receiver questions about some teams that could be in range if the 49ers decided to make a move. The first was about the Ravens, who lost the coin toss with Dallas, and will pick No. 17:

Q.  I want to get a handle on the wide receivers, and when you look at the Ravens, 16th or 17th spot when you look at the top receivers you have, Sammy Watkins and Evans, which of those guys do you think could be available to the Ravens in the middle of that first round there?

MAYOCK:  Really interesting because it's the best wide receiver draft I've seen in years and obviously depending what happens in front of them. Watkins will be long gone and then you start to get into what flavor do you like.  Marqise Lee is a completely different receiver than Mike Evans or Kelvin Benjamin.

So I really believe when the Ravens get on the clock at 16, that probably at least one, if not two of those three, will be available and they bring different things to the table.  Lee can play inside or outside.  He's a dangerous kickoff return guy. Evans and Benjamin are kind of today's flavor in the NFL, those 65, 230pound wide receivers, the back shoulder throws, outside the numbers in the red zone.

I think if you're a Ravens fan, you're going to know that at least one, if not two of those three guys, will be available in that slot.

He was later asked about the Jets at No. 18:

Q.  With the Jets at 18, most earn thinks that they have to take a receiver there.  Do you subscribe to that thinking and if so, which of the receivers with their varied skill sets that you alluded to earlier do you think would be a best fit for this system?

MAYOCK:  Boy, I mean, they need some talent out there, all right, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Jets pick multiple wide receivers this year.  If you are sitting there at 18, I had said earlier, I think you can have any one of three receivers sitting there; Marqise Lee fits in that side, then helps in the return game, versus the two big bodied guys, [Mike] Evans and [Kelvin] Benjamin.  I think all three of them are talented enough to work with that group.

Curly is already a slot, Holmes is at the end of his career, Stephen Hill is an outside guy.  I just think you pick less about X's and O's; which guy is the best football player.

My perspective would be you can't go wrong with either Marqise Lee or Mike Evans.

Like I said, I don't think the 49ers move up for a wide receiver. That being said, they are in prime position to move up to the middle of the first round, if not higher if they really wanted to. Last year, the 49ers climbed from No. 31 to No. 18 to grab Eric Reid. To make the move, they swapped first round picks, and gave Dallas the 12th pick of the third round.

This year, the 49ers hold the 13th pick of the third round. Although we do have trade value charts (from EastBayNinerFan), no two trades are going to be exactly alike. Given that this draft is deeper, I do wonder how much that might impact the value of trading up and down. Mayock said that Top 20 picks this year are similar to a Top 10 pick last year. Wouldn't that make it more of a buyer's market, making it easier to move up given the depth?

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