Should the 49ers Wait Until Pick No. 31 to Draft a Wide Receiver?
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Acquiring the No. 13 overall pick from the Indianapolis Colts in the DeForest Buckner trade did the 49ers wonders. They were extremely pressed for draft capital in the early rounds since they only had one pick in the first four-rounds. Even pick No. 31 was hardly sufficient since it's at the end of the first-round.
Now that the 49ers have the No. 13 pick everything is on the table. San Francisco can now go after the more polished draft prospects. The position of interest here has been wide receiver. It is severely lacking for the red and gold since only Deebo Samuel and Kendrick Bourne are returning contributors from 2019.
The loss of Emmanuel Sanders puts a bit of pressure on the 49ers to go after a receiver as well. However, the 49ers are in a very fluid position with multiple picks in the first-round. They could trade up, trade down for a package of picks or just stay put. Should they stay put, it isn't necessarily a lock that they will target a wide receiver.
SI's own Kevin Hanson recently put out a mock draft where he had the San Francisco 49ers selecting cornerback C.J. Henderson with pick No. 13. Hanson then selects wide receiver Tee Higgins with Pick No. 31.
This is something that hasn't really been discussed enough. Should the 49ers wait until pick No. 31 to draft a wide receiver?
It certainly is on the table for them to consider. Personally, I see no way the 49ers keep the 31st pick. I fully expect them to trade that pick to acquire capital back into the second- and third-rounds. But for this article's sake, lets assume they end up keeping pick No. 31. The logic behind Hanson's mock draft is sound.
The cornerback class in this years draft class is lacking in overall quality. It is scarce in top end talent, which means that once the first-round is over teams would be wise to hold off a few rounds to select one. It's a simple supply-and-demand scenario. That is what makes drafting a cornerback at No. 13 so enticing.
San Francisco will not be able to find anyone near the caliber of Henderson should he be available at the time. Meanwhile, the reverse is not true for the wide receivers. The 49ers can still find a quality player at pick No. 31. Now that player selected will not be so much of an immediate impact player as someone at No. 13, but at least the 49ers ensure they get two quality talents.
Cornerback isn't that far off a lacking position for the 49ers. That doesn't mean Emmanuel Moseley isn't a baller because he most definitely is. However, Richard Sherman is not getting any younger. Despite coming off another elite season, the 49ers should already be planning for his replacement. They have a chance at it with the 13th overall pick.
Even Joe Staley's replacement can be found at that spot with all of the quality offensive tackles. So there are three positions to consider here for the 49ers. I also would not rule out a defensive tackle at No. 13 should the 49ers feel the need.
The 49ers should be considered major players in April's draft. With two first-round draft choices, they can shift the tide in different directions. They are practically the slot receiver of the draft. You just have no idea which route they are going to run and how they are going to attack because the options are plentiful. Waiting on a receiver until the end of the first-round is just one of the many options for the 49ers.