In “normal” years, NFL teams are limited to 30 pre-draft prospect visits. Since teams can no longer hold face-to-face visits with players due to the current global pandemic, they’ve been limited to virtual interviews that can last up to an hour. There doesn’t appear to be any restrictions on the number of video interviews teams can hold, which is a good thing for teams like the San Francisco 49ers considering they hold two first-round picks. We’re less than two weeks away from the NFL Draft, and The Athletic’s Matt Barrows reported that the 49ers have met with two more receivers. One that is mocked in the late first to the early second-round range, and one that is mocked on Day 3.
Quez Watkins had explosive testing numbers at the NFL Combine. He ran a 4.35 40-yard dash and jumped 36.6” in the vertical. Watkins tested well-below average in the agility drills, however. Watkins ran a 7.28 3-cone and a 4.36 short shuttle. Relying on SIS’s rookie handbook, they rank Watkins 37 out of 37 among receivers:
Watkins projects as a No. 4 receiver that fits best in a scheme that allows him to utilize his inside/outside flexibility. He is not an underneath chain-mover, but more of a big play dynamic receiver. Watkins has the speed and playmaking traits desired by NFL teams, but he’ll need to improve his effort and physicality in all areas to garner a larger, non-reserve role.
Watkins is 6’0” and 185 pounds.
The second receiver the 49ers have met with is Denzel Mims out of Baylor, who is the only wide receiver with eight touchdown receptions in the past three seasons, per the Athletic’s Dane Brugler. Mims was the first player I wrote about. That tells you all you need to know where I stand with him. I have watched an unhealthy amount of Mims, so when I see people in the draft community say, “Oklahoma shut him down in the Big-12 championship,” it tells me they looked at the box score and ignored Mims running wide open in the secondary but the second and third-string quarterback weren’t able to get Mims the ball.
Kyle Shanahan has a type at wide receiver, and it predates his time in San Francisco. Mims ran a 4.43 short shuttle, and Kyle’s cutoff is 4.25. Mims was the to Mims ran the third-fastest 40-yard dash at 4.38. He had the eighth-highest vertical leap at 38.5”. Mims had a broad jump of 10’11”, which was good for the fourth-best among wideouts. His 6.66 3-cone was three-tenths faster than second place. At 6’3”, 207 pounds, there isn’t a receiver like Mims on the roster.
Mims has to improve his hand use at the line of scrimmage. That gets him in trouble. That’s also teachable. Mims also needs to become more consistent in traffic and contested situations. If technique and concentration are the main issues for a player that is athletic as Mims, you know we’re dealing with a high-end prospect. There are handfuls of examples in each game of Mims showing he can get open against man or zone coverage at every level of the field. He plenty of spectacular catches where Mims goes outside of his frame. Those are the plays that the receivers on the roster can’t make. Mims game goes to another level in the red zone—an area the 49ers struggle in—add all these traits together, and you have a Tier 1 receiver for San Francisco.