San Francisco 49ers

49ers have plenty of receivers, but few are proven

Mississippi wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (1) pulls in a touchdown reception in front of Oklahoma State cornerback Kevin Peterson (1) in the first half of the Sugar Bowl college football game in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Mississippi wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (1) pulls in a touchdown reception in front of Oklahoma State cornerback Kevin Peterson (1) in the first half of the Sugar Bowl college football game in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. AP

The scouting combine begins next week, and the 49ers will be busy. They are projected to have a league-high 12 picks and could use help at just about every position. Over the next week and a half we’ll look at every spot on the team as well as which college prospects might fit with the 49ers. Next up:

Wide receiver

Need level: Moderate to high

Under contract: Dres Anderson, DiAndre Campbell, Bruce Ellington, Quinton Patton, Eric Rogers, Jerome Simpson, DeAndre Smelter, Torrey Smith, DeAndrew White

THE SITUATION

The 49ers have an abundance of receivers signed for next season, but only three – Smith, Patton and Ellington – caught more than 10 passes in 2015. What’s more, the man who has been their top pass catcher the last three seasons, Anquan Boldin, will be an unrestricted free agent next month.

Team officials are excited about Smelter, a fourth-round pick a year ago. But he didn’t see a lot of action in Georgia Tech’s run-heavy offense in college and sat out last season with an ACL injury. One of the issues is that general manager Trent Baalke has played it safe with the position after whiffing on first-round selection A.J. Jenkins in 2012. He hasn’t taken a receiver before the fourth round since. As a result, the roster is full of decent support players but no stars.

New coach Chip Kelly had a different No. 1 receiver all three years in Philadelphia. DeSean Jackson led the team in 2013, Jeremy Maclin in 2014 and Jordan Matthews last year. The Eagles drafted three receivers while Kelly was coach, all before the fourth round: Matthews (second, 2014), Josh Huff (third, 2014) and Nelson Agholor (first 2015). All three are different and there doesn’t appear to be a rhyme or reason to the type of wideout Kelly prefers. This is not considered a good year for receivers in the draft.

THE 2016 CLASS

Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi: Treadwell has been linked to the 49ers and their No. 7 pick. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, he’s a big, physical receiver who wins a lot of jump balls, and he and Smith would complement each other. But Treadwell is not expected to have a blazing 40-yard dash time at the combine in Indianapolis. His lack of speed may knock him out of the Top 10 in the draft.

Josh Doctson, TCU: He has excellent body control, especially in the end zone. He caught 34 touchdowns in his career for the Horned Frogs and would be the red-zone threat the 49ers have lacked for more than a decade. He’s reminiscent of former Cal receiver Keenan Allen.

Corey Coleman, Baylor: Coleman is the type of vertical threat Kelly had his first two seasons in Philadelphia in Jackson and Maclin (and now in Torrey Smith). He’s small (5-11, 190 pounds), but he’s aggressive when the ball is in the air and is unafraid to go over the middle. His huge college production (173 catches, 3,009 yards, 33 TDs) was inflated by Baylor’s offensive system.

Will Fuller, Notre Dame: Another receiver who has drawn comparisons to Jackson is Fuller, who had 62 receptions, 1,258 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. He’s blazing fast but weighs only 175 pounds.

Braxton Miller, Ohio State: The quarterback-turned-receiver is raw but was one of the best receivers at the Senior Bowl because of his quickness and athleticism. A creative offensive mind could work out a role for Miller his rookie season while he learns the position.

MONDAY: The 49ers’ options at quarterback.

TUESDAY: Which running backs will help Hyde?

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

  Comments