A year ago, we went over the type of wide receiver Kyle Shanahan is interested in. Every offensive play-caller has a system, and they want a certain type of player to play in their system. With Kyle, he’s looking for ultra-quick players that can create separation in short areas and make something happen when the ball is in their hands. The numbers are relatively basic. For the short shuttle, it’s anything under a 4.25. For the 3-cone, anything faster than seven seconds. For the vertical, you just can’t be below average. That number was 32”. That didn’t change much after the 2019 NFL Draft. Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd both fit the profile. Samuel ran a 7.03 3-cone. Shanahan spent time with Deebo at the Senior Bowl and said Deebo’s love for the game is when Shanahan knew he wanted Samuel. So there is some leeway on these, as there should be.
A few players didn’t run on Thursday. Clemson’s Tee Higgins was the most prominent name. A little birdie said Higgins wasn’t going to run until he loses some weight. Florida’s Van Jefferson has a Jones fracture and will be sidelined for six to eight weeks. Minnesota’s Tyler Johnson didn’t run, either. I think the only other name I didn’t see that was notable was Colorado’s Laviska Shenault—who likened himself to Deebo Samuel. Let’s just say I don’t see it. Shenault ran a 4.59 40-yard dash, which isn’t bad at 225+ pounds, but Samuel is far more electric.
He also had an above-average vertical and broad jump but didn’t do any shuttle drills. I imagine if there is workout down the line, the 49ers will time Jefferson there. Jalen Reagor from TCU was the other player the team was linked with. He’s a draft analyst favorite, but I’m not as high on Reagor as many are. He was supposed to challenge Henry Ruggs for the fastest 40-yard dash but ran a 4.46 40-yard dash. Both of Reagor’s jumps were ridiculous, but his shuttle times were surprisingly bad. Reagor’s 3-cone was 7.31, and his short shuttle was 4.46. For reference, Jimmy Garoppolo ran a 4.26 and 7.04 in the same drills. Nick Bosa ran a 4.14 and a 7.1 3-cone. Not great!
Finding the fits
Here are the players that meet the 49ers thresholds, with a few hundredths of a seconds worth of wiggle room allowed because we’re not computers:
Pittman and Hodgins had the best short shuttle times. At their size, that’s impressive. On our pod about receivers, Cam called Hodgins the best red-zone receiver in the draft. That’s high praise, and something to keep in mind. Pittman is what you’d call a “good football player.” He has plenty of highlight plays, but Pittman is a consistent player than can get open at every level. Both of those two are intriguing options later on in the draft for the 49ers.
This wide receiver class has reached a level of hyperbole that is unmatched, so it’s a bit surprising to see only four players meet this threshold. The shuttle times for the top receivers weren’t good. Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy ran a 4.53. That is the same time as Arik Armstead, Ronald Blair, and slower than Sheldon Day and Solomon Thomas. The combine is usually good for a few head-scratchers.
Denzel Mims missed the cut because he ran a 4.43 short shuttle. Everywhere else, Mims crushed it, and many believe he’s a first-round player now. Weird. Mims ran a 4.38 40 at 6-foot-3, 207 pounds. He also had a 38.5 inch vertical, a 10’9” broad jump, and a 6.66 3-cone. You read that right, 6.66. That was over a full tenth better than the next closest guy. More on Mims later today.