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NFL Mock Draft 2012: Do 49ers Go WR First Round Or Free Agency?

The 49ers made a roster move today as they signed former practice squad wide receiver John Matthews to a Reserve/Future contract. He was on the practice squad once in mid October and again in late November through the end of the season. He has a useful Jim Harbaugh connection as he played for Coach Harbaugh at the University of San Diego.

This all comes on the heels of the unit's poor performance in the NFC Championship Game. And really over the course of the season, there were some inconsistencies. Michael Crabtree took steps forward during the regular season, but the team likely will look for someone who can bring a greater deep presence alongside Vernon Davis.

Most mock drafts these days have the 49ers selecting a wide receiver with pick No. 30 in the first round. It is hard to mock that far down with any certainty given how much can happen through the first 29 picks. Nonetheless, certain players do seem to settle into the top half and it gives some semblance of an idea of things.

SB Nation released their latest mock draft and have the 49ers drafting Rutgers receiver Mohamed Sanu. They have previously mocked in guys like Alshon Jeffery and Kendall Wright, along with Sanu. For other folks, the 49ers would be best served trying to sign a guy like Dwayne Bowe, DeSean Jackson or Marques Colston in free agency.

If the 49ers grab a guy like Bowe in free agency, I would imagine they would not go WR in the first round barring some huge drop. On the other hand, if they do not grab a big name in free agency, maybe they then try and get Sanu, Jeffery or Wright, among others. Of course, there are no sure things in the draft, while free agency busts can be prominent as well.

How would you handle it? Or do you think wide receiver really isn't a significant issue? For the sake of argument, try and assume Alex Smith will be back in 2012 and will likely be the starting quarterback. You don't have to if you don't want to, but it might help focus the discussion a bit.