The San Francisco 49ers have been searching for a top homegrown wide receiver for a long time.
Previously, they selected A.J. Jenkins, Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington in the last three drafts. Jenkins was traded after one season while Patton and Ellington were seldom used with the former being mostly inactive in 2014.
In the short term, the 49ers will be depending on newly signed WR Torrey Smith to be the deep threat. Anquan Boldin is entering his contract year and the 49ers will need a long term solution to go beyond 2015.
Like last year, this draft class is expected to be deep at the WR position, giving room for the 49ers to have flexibility on when to select one. They have met with several different WRs in Santa Clara for official visits.
The 49ers could take a WR as early as the first round, but as late as the third round in order to get someone who can help immediately. It would be best for the team to take someone they can commit to when Boldin’s time is done.
DeVante Parker (Louisville): 6-2, 209 pounds:
Parker is considered to be a top three WR in this year’s draft class with Kevin White (West Virginia) and Amari Cooper (Alabama). With both White and Cooper expected to be taken in the top 10, Parker is the wildcard who has a chance to be on the 49ers. He could be a legit No. 1 WR in the future and can play slot immediately if the 49ers drafted him. One of his specialties is yards after catch, where he can produce explosive plays. Parker is projected to be a top-10 draft pick and most likely would require a trade up in order to select him.
Dorial Green-Beckham (Missouri/Oklahoma): 6-5, 237 pounds:
Green-Beckham was considered to be one of the best WRs coming out of high school. After being highly touted, he had off the field troubles and it is preventing him from being the top WR in this class. His size and speed combination can’t be matched and could be the best WR in terms of upside on the field. Green-Beckham could be taken as early as the first round, but character concerns could drop him to the second round.
Devin Smith (Ohio State): 6-0, 196 pounds:
Smith is an immediate deep threat who can stretch the field. However, his hands are inconsistent but he would be a good slot option for 2015. Smith is projected as a late first round or early second round pick.
Sammie Coates (Auburn): 6-1 212 pounds:
Coates is another WR who possesses great straight line speed, but his hands are a liability. If the 49ers want another receiver who can take the top off, Coates would be the answer. With his inconsistent hands shown at the combine, his stock has lowered and projects to be a third round draft pick.
Stefon Diggs (Maryland): 6-0, 195 pounds:
Diggs could be an immediate playmaker as he is strong in the open field. He can also contribute as a kickoff returner and impress with his speed. The problem with Diggs is his durability, where he has had two significant injuries to the kidney and leg. Diggs is projected as a mid-round draft pick.
Vince Mayle (Washington St.): 6-2, 224 pounds:
Mayle is a former basketball player who has decent physical traits for a WR. He played for three years at Washington State and is capable of home run plays. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the greatest hands as he had 13 drops in 2014. Mayle is projected as a mid-round draft pick.
Darren Waller (Georgia Tech): 6-6, 238 pounds:
At 6-6, Waller would be the tallest WR in this class and has tremendous speed for his size. His weakness is that he isn’t the greatest route runner, but his frame is something that can make him a decent red zone threat. Waller is projected to be taken as early as the third round.
Dezmin Lewis (Central Arkansas): 6-4, 214 pounds:
Lewis could be a good possession receiver with his size and reliable hands. His route running is still raw and he has not faced the greatest competition in college. Lewis is projected as a mid round draft pick.
Ricky Collins (Texas A&M-Commerce) 6-0, 200 pounds:
Collins good at route running, but lacks the experience that most WRs will have at a lower tier level of football. He is projected as a late round draft pick.
Deontay Greenberry (Houston) 6-3, 200 pounds:
Greenberry is another WR with good size and strength. However, he lacks the route running and speed to be an immediate impact for 2015 and should be considered a project. Greenberry is projected as a late round draft pick.