It was an oft-asked question after the 49ers on Thursday signed receiver Jerome Simpson to a two-year deal: Does Simpson’s signing indicate the 49ers would be willing to make a draft-day gamble on another troubled receiver, Oklahoma’s Dorial Green-Beckham?
The 49ers will be looking for an impact player at that position in the upcoming draft – someone with speed, someone with size and someone who can affect the game. Green-Beckham checks all those boxes. Furthermore, there appears to be a fairly strong possibility the top three wideouts in the draft – Amari Cooper, Kevin White and DeVante Parker – will be gone by the time the 49ers are on the clock at pick No. 15. Green-Beckham could be tempting.
But whereas the signing of Simpson is likely very low risk (that is, they could cut him with few to no ramifications), using a first-round pick on someone with a troubled background is a much bigger gamble. General managers need to hit home runs with their first-round picks, or at least get on base. Trent Baalke whiffed the last time he chose a receiver in the first round. Striking out again would be extremely dicey.
Furthermore, the issues in Green-Beckham’s past include reports from a year ago that he pushed a woman down a flight of stairs. Green-Beckham never was arrested due to reluctant witnesses, but the incident – along with two marijuana-related incidents – prompted both a suspension and dismissal at Missouri and his transfer to Oklahoma. Given both the NFL’s efforts to combat domestic violence and the 49ers’ oft-repeated “winning with class” mantra, it’s very difficult to see them selecting Green-Beckham in the first round.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.