There is no question the San Francisco 49ers have two glaring needs heading into the 2014 NFL Draft. Those needs include a deep-threat wide receiver and a starting caliber cornerback. After watching the 49ers attend various Pro Days including those that possess some of the best wide receivers and cornerbacks in this year’s draft class, I thought it would be a great idea to analyze the interest of three possible players at their respective positions in which the 49ers would target. And while cornerback is becoming a possible higher position of need with the recent news of CB Chris Culliver, we will save that position for a later time, as we first dissect the wide receivers. So without further ado, here’s our top three wide receivers the 49ers will target in the first-round:
1. WR Mike Evans (Projected to be drafted by Buffalo Bills at No. 9 in my Mock Draft)
Analysis: On NFL Network’s Path to the Draft, I said the 49ers will need to trade up with the Atlanta Falcons at No. 6 if they hope of landing the big bodied receiver, and I stand by that statement today. The Falcons have plenty of holes to fill and not enough draft picks, making the Niners an attractive trade partner. And with Evans being highly coveted by the 49ers brass as Director of College Scouting Matt Malaspina attended and held a private meeting after his Pro Day, it’s a positive sign that the 49ers already have him with a gold helmet next to his name. Not to mention Southern Regional Scout Bob Morris attended QB Johnny Manziel’s Pro Day to get a second-look at the physical freak, Evans will definitely be a topic of discussion inside the 49ers war room.
2. WR Brandin Cooks (Projected to be drafted by New York Jets at No. 18 in my Mock Draft)
Analysis: On NFL Network’s Path to the Draft, I said the 49ers would need to trade up with either the Dallas Cowboys (No. 16) or Baltimore Ravens (No. 17) in order to secure Cooks’ services. The Jets in dire need of a wide receiver themselves after the release of WR Santonio Holmes, Cooks would be a nice complement to newly added WR Eric Decker. However, the 49ers may have other plans as they have done business with both the Cowboys and Ravens in the past and may do so again on Draft day. Cooks who is also a highly coveted player by the 49ers as both Senior Personal Assistant Ethan Waugh and Morris attended his Pro Day, Cooks is one of those few players the 49ers will trade-up for if there’s an early run on wide receivers.
3. WR Jordan Matthews (Projected to be drafted by 49ers at No. 30 in my Mock Draft)
Analysis: Matthews is my wild-card here. A player I have been extremely high on since last season, Matthews draft stock has sky-rocketed up draft boards after his impressive NFL combine and Pro Day. A Pro Day witnessed by National Scout Matt Malaspina, it will be interesting to see how much value they place on one of the SEC’s all-time greats. Not to mention, Matthews has bloodlines that run deep as he is related to the great WR Jerry Rice, adding Matthews may be in the cards.