Forget Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs III.
Those three are the top wide-receiver prospects in the upcoming draft, the three wide receivers the 49ers could take with the 13th pick. The 49ers should pass on each of them and patiently wait to take Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims with the 31st pick.
1. Mims is exactly the kind of wide receiver the 49ers don’t already have. They have deep threats -- Marquise Goodwin and Travis Benjamin. They have a gadget receiver -- Deebo Samuel. They have a possession receiver -- Kendrick Bourne. They have slot receivers -- Trent Taylor, Richie James Jr. and Jalen Hurd. But they don’t have a big, fast No. 1 receiver, such as Julio Jones or Andre Johnson.
Kyle Shanahan coached Johnson on the Texans in 2008 and 2008, and Jones on the Falcons in 2015 and 2016. When Shanahan had those two, he called lots of deep shots, not the dinks and dunks he featured in 2019.
Shanahan wants a true No. 1 wide receiver -- every coach wants one. But it’s hard to find a true No. 1. Mims is the rare athlete who fits the description: 6’3”, 207 pounds, 4.38 40-yard dash.
2. Mims would complement Jimmy Garoppolo’s skillset. Garoppolo specializes in throwing 12-to-15-yard passes over the middle to moving targets. He throws those passes with courage and anticipation, but sometimes he misses and the passes get tipped and intercepted. Garoppolo would benefit big time from a big, long-armed wide receiver who makes difficult catches in traffic. That’s Mims. He loves to run across the middle, leap in the air and catch balls while taking crushing hits from more than one defender. Think Pierre Garcon, or before him Terrell Owens.
3. Mims is a good blocker. The 49ers need a wide receiver, but they’re still a run first team so they need wide receivers who block well. Mims blocks phenomenally. Imagine him leading the way down the field as Samuel runs a reverse.
4. Mims is underrated. Scouts say he drops too many passes, but he played through a broken hand in 2018. That’s why he dropped too many passes. In 2019, his hand was healthy, so caught the ball more frequently. Funny how that works.
5. Mims played well at the Senior Bowl. He also played well at Baylor, but teams don’t play much defense in the Big 12 so lots of wide receivers play well at Baylor. The Senior Bowl is a bigger test, and it’s where Shanahan identified Samuel as a premium talent and a perfect fit for the 49ers offense last year. This year, Mims showed he can beat the best senior cornerbacks in the country.
He’s a no-brainer pick for the 49ers at 31.