I said it once and I will say it again, the San Francisco 49ers need to target a wide-receiver with their first-round pick. An explanation I gave in an earlier article as I pointed out three reasons why a wide-receiver makes the most sense — there is no question that I believe selecting a pass-catcher in the top half of the first-round is imperative.
[Related: 3 Reasons Why 49ers Draft WR in First Round]
Last year people thought I was crazy when I suggested that the 49ers should target both ILB Chris Borland and ILB Shayne Skov despite already having two All-Pros on the roster in ILB NaVorro Bowman and ILB Patrick Willis.
A scenario that didn’t make much sense considering they also had reliable backup ILB Michael Wilhoite — adding another inside linebacker in the early rounds was somewhat unconventional.
However, after digging deeper into GM Trent Baalke’s draft strategy I felt the move was ideal and as it turned out both players ended up in San Francisco.
And this year is no different, as I believe the 49ers will draft a wide-receiver in round one — at least that’s my gut feeling and three players who they will be targeting include WR Amari Cooper, WR DeVante Parker, and WR Dorial Green-Beckham.
I already painted out a scenario in which Parker or Cooper would be targeted by the team in a trade with the Cleveland Browns, but if they stay put at No. 15 do not be shocked if they select Green-Beckham.
You can’t coach height (trust me I’m short) and at 6-5, 237, one can only wonder what kind of damage Green-Beckham can do in red zone opportunities. A physical freak combined with long speed to breeze passed defensive backs with ease (4.49 40-yard) — adding a player like DGB may be too good to pass up.
The 49ers will surely look to replace WR Anquan Boldin next season as it’s unsure if he will be re-signed at season’s end. If that’s the case the 49ers would be wise to select the best player available in a strong wide-receiver draft class making DGB a logical choice.
A player that can win 50-50 balls while having the agility to stop on a dime to run a dig route across the middle, adding DGB to the 49ers offense would do wonders for the passing game.
However, DGB does have his flaws and for a guy that’s his size it’s puzzling to me that he hasn’t been working hard in the weight room. At the NFL combine, DGB only put up 13 reps on the bench press — to be honest that’s weak sauce for a guy that’s 237. And that’s what has scouts worried as he’s known to get re-directed on routes while having a questionable work ethic. Luckily for the team they have Boldin.
Boldin is one of the most polished route-runners in the NFL and if DGB can absorb everything that Boldin throws at him — the risk is well worth the reward as Boldin can mentor him for one year before relishing the starting role.
Boldin has been known to help out rookies as he did it with WR Quinton Patton. I asked Patton during his rookie season if Boldin has helped his development. “Yeah he taught me a couple of different releases–when the balls up–attack the ball at it’s highest point and stretch your hands out,” Patton said. So don’t think that Boldin is not one to help as he clearly is.
Aside from DGB’s lack of playing strength it’s his off-field incidents that has him falling down draft boards. During his freshman year, DGB was arrested and charged with a marijuana possession resulting in him being suspended for that week’s game. He was then arrested again in January 2014 for marijuana possession, however the charges were later dropped as the passenger took ownership for the drugs. Three months later he forced his way into an apartment and then pushed a female ‘down at least four stairs,’ which led to his dismissal from Missouri.
Is this winning with class? One can only assume that Baalke knows what he’s doing if he opts to select the talented but troubled wide-receiver.
Baalke spoke to local media last year in regards to drafting second-round pick (No. 57) RB Carlos Hyde and his behavior in a night club but still decide to select the Buckeye product.
With the 49ers continuing to do their homework on all prospects do not count out DGB as he is a first-round pick that is a high-risk/high-reward prospect.