While we will spend weeks and weeks discussing potential 49ers first round picks, there are numerous other picks and undrafted free agents that will result in just as much discussion over the summer and into next season. In fact, it is entirely possible we will have more spirited debate over a random sixth round pick than some of the higher picks. The discussion just gets a little crazy like that.
The 49ers have loaded up their receiver corps with several intriguing options through free agency. The team still has some long-term question marks at the position, which was part of the reason I went with Stephen Hill in the SB Nation blogger mock draft. However, given the 49ers usual mystery, it is entirely possible they will prefer to look for some options later in the draft. Ronald Johnson did not work out last year, but with late-round picks and UDFAs, the team can continue rolling the dice in hopes of finding the next Marques Colston.
There are a variety of intriguing wide receiver options, but two that have caught my eye are South Dakota State WR Dale Moss and Shenandoah University WR Rico Wallace. Moss has received a lot of buzz after blowing up his Pro Day. After a season in which he had 61 receptions for 949 yards and six touchdowns, he did not score an invite to the Combine. At his Pro Day he put up the following numbers:
- Height: 6′ 3″
- Weight: 213 lbs
- 40-yd Dash: 4.45
- Vertical: 41.5″
- Broad Jump: 10′ 10″
- 3-Cone: 6.32
- 20-yd Shuttle: 4.08
- 60-yd Shuttle: 10.82
- Bench (225 lbs): 11 reps
Moss has made a name for himself in spite of a very limited amount of time in football. Moss played both football and basketball in high school and went to South Dakota State on a basketball scholarship. He spent four seasons with the basketball team before coming back for a fifth year to return to football. So yes, he came up with those 61 receptions in his first year back in football since high school. Let the Antonio Gates two-sport comparison begin. Head over to Mocking The Draft to read over an interview they recently conducted with him.
Another intriguing even smaller school prospect is Shenandoah University wide receiver Rico Wallace. Although Wallace spent his career in division three, that obviously does not rule out a professional career. He did not put together a dominant pro day as he ran a
4.58 4.53 40-yard dash, but he has received some kudos from folks who caught a small school showcase:
Wallace, from tiny D3 Shenandoah, was the best player on the field during positional drills, 1-on-1′s and 7-on-7′s. He timed in at just a shade over 4.5 and didn't seem to lose any of that speed in and out of his breaks. He ran phenomenal routes, earning praise from top-notch QB coach Jeff Christensen for keeping proper route depth and plucking the ball away from his body. Wallace continued to impress on Sunday, catching a long touchdown pass in addition to throwing some nasty blocks.
Overall, Wallace just made thinks look easy. He has now earned a draftable grade and is at worst a priority free agent. He certainly could make a practice squad and has an outside chance of making a 53-man roster.
Only 15 players have been drafted from D-3 schools since 1991, so he faces an uphill battle simply based on perceptions. He put together impressive numbers for Shenandoah, but obviously those will be met with some measure of skepticism. As a senior he capped off his career with 67 receptions for 1,241 yards and 14 touchdowns as he improved his numbers each season.
Here is a feature video of Wallace, who would be the first person ever drafted out of Shenandoah. Mocking the Draft has an interview piece with Wallace from February. Random and pointless side note: I went to high school in Northwest Virginia not too far from Shenandoah and earned some college credits from SU as a senior in high school. Random enough.