Pro days continue today with Cincinnati, Clemson, Furman, Jackson State, Illinois, and Nebraska.
Forgive me for skipping the traditional football powers of Cincinnati, Furman, Jackson State, and Illinois in this post. I'm sure they'll continue to help NFL teams stockpile practice squad players for years to come. Too harsh?
Every 49er fan recognizes the clear need for playmakers, depth, and speed at the receiver position. This year, Clemson if offering the NFL two prospects that could potentially fill those needs. Sammy Watkins is considered by most to be one of the top two receivers in this draft class. He figures to be a top 10 pick come May, likely making him too rich for the 49ers. And I'm ok with that.
I think Watkins can have a very successful career in the NFL but I don't see him as a true No. 1 receiver with the likes of the players he's unfairly be compared to (Julio Jones and AJ Green). Watkins caught more than 50% of his balls within five yards of the line of scrimmage. His game is best when he's in the open field and in space. To me he's a taller Percy Harvin. Yes, he's a first rounder and worth it. But I don't have confidence in the 49ers offense to use a guy like Watkins successfully so I don't foresee a move up the draft to grab him, even if he falls past the tenth pick.
Watkins' teammate, Martavis Bryant is a different story. The 6'4, 211lbs receiver is not only taller than Watkins, he had a better vertical jump by another 5" and he was actually timed a tick faster than Watkins in the forty with a 4.42. Had Clemson decided to feature Bryant more than (or as much as) Watkins, I think we'd be talking about Bryant as a first round pick.
Instead, he figures to be a day two pick somewhere in the second round most likely. If the 49ers pass on a receiver in round one, it wouldn't shock me to see them move up in the second for Bryant.
Nebraska's Stanley Jean-Baptiste has become a polarizing prospect for 49er fans. On one hand, the 6-3, 218lb corner has the size and athleticism teams are starting to covet in defensive backs. On the other hand, there are still plenty of questions regarding Jean-Baptiste's physicality despite his size. Plus, the emergence of other ‘truer' corners thus far in the draft process has caused Jean-Baptiste's stock to plateau. A position change to safety isn't out of the question but something that will likely be addressed in one-on-one interviews.
Tomorrow, we'll conclude the first week of pro days with: Arizona State, Arkansas State, Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Pittsburg State (Kansas), South Alabama, Southern Miss, and Wofford.