The sheer talent and upside at wide receiver position over the last few drafts has been staggering. The uncanny ability to swing and miss each and every time is honestly something Trent Baalke should be applauded for. It takes real talent to miss like he has when it comes to the wide receiver position, and given the lack of top-end talent this year, it should be even easier for him to keep the streak going.
Of course, I'm speaking in hyperbole and this year's class isn't anything to be worried about when it comes to there being actual talent for Baalke to go right ahead and miss. There are some guys there that I like, guys that could finally break the streak of bad 49ers wide receivers.
As an aside, no I don't think Bruce Ellington, DeAndre Smelter or those kinds of players are a lost cause -- I have given up on Quinton Patton, though -- but the 49ers thus far have proven bad at the practice of drafting game-changing wide receivers.
Which brings us to the point of this article. Danny Kelly, the man behind Field Guls and an NFL contributor for SB Nation in general, posted an article on Saturday about this year's wide receiver class. Not only that, he talks a lot about value and where successful teams typically find their receivers.
Guys like Devin Funchess, Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs and Jamison Crowder were used as examples of guys taken outside of the first round but who produced for their team last season. Amari Cooper, one of six receivers taken in the first round last year, was the only receiver of that group to have more than 500 yards.
Guys like Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry, Donte Moncrief, John Brown and more are guys taken in previous years outside of the first round. But Kelly goes further and talks about "the cliff," the point where the players aren't really playing off like they were in other rounds. That's identified as the fifth round, which is pretty significant, at least for the 49ers.
The last there years, the 49ers have drafted a receiver in the fourth round. The second and third rounds have more value, but the fourth round is the "safe" cutoff, even if it hasn't paid off for the 49ers to this point. It's an interesting situation because the 49ers obviously can't spend a first-round pick on the position this year but it might be the right time to spend a second or a third.
Either way, it's a good read. Check it out.