Analyzing 1st Round Wide Receivers Linked to San Francisco 49ers
With two weeks to go before the 2012 NFL Draft on April, 26th, the San Francisco 49ers are in full-fledged draft mode. They've made this clear by ending free agency movement and hosting an array of NFL prospects. The 49ers have been linked to several players in one way or another, most of them wide receivers.
In the following slides, we will take a look at three specific wide receivers with first round status who have been connected to the 49ers. We will breakdown their film, character and how they would fit in the 49ers offense.
With San Francisco picking at No. 30, they could wait for one of these players to fall, while trading up is still a possibility.
Rueben Randle, LSU
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LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle is listed as 6'3", 208 pounds and could very well fall to the 49ers without them having to move up for him. There's a lot of great things about Randle besides his size, and the first primarily is his concentration. In the SEC Randle displayed excellent concentration to block out the multiple defenders around him and make catches in traffic.
On top of that, he seems to be a fearless receiver, whether he is trying to take a stop-route the distance or going across the middle. He also practiced against arguably the best defense in the NCAA on a regular basis; a school that has produced cornerbacks like Patrick Peterson, and soon to be Morris Claiborne. (Tyrann Mathieu will also likely make himself a first round draft choice.)
Randle is a big, physical guy who can catch the deep ball and also get serious yards after catch. When he steps on the field, he appears to have the will to win. With his big frame, he registered 4.4 forty at the combine that could translate to be faster on the football field.
If the 49ers hold tight at No. 30, they could still get a great wide receiver in Randle. He's underrated because of the draft class he's in, but he could very well be the next Dwayne Bowe for the 49ers. Randle reportedly met with them earlier this month, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
Michael Floyd, ND
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A big-time target from the University of Notre Dame is Michael Floyd. Floyd is a 6'3", 220-pound playmaker with great size and speed. He can make those circus catches at the next level and would be exactly what the 49ers would be looking for.
Unfortunately, even despite his alcohol related issues, Floyd will likely be long gone before the 49ers pick at the end of the first round. Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh may consider trading up for Floyd if their meeting went swimmingly. We know Baalke is not fearful of trading up as he did for Anthony Davis, Colin Kaepernick and Daniel Kilgore.
Floyd is a pure playmaker capable of a great deal of chunk yardage. The 49ers need to add someone that is able to stretch the field and make dynamic plays for the passing game. Floyd's ability also dictates that he would provide a safety net for Alex Smith. He's great at adjusting the ball and coming down with it.
But once again, the 49ers would have to move up for Floyd if they felt he was their man. It would be a strong move by the organization, and one that would pay off serious dividends.
Stephen Hill, GT
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Behold Stephen Hill, wide receiver from Georgia Tech. This guy has been a fan favorite already because he's got the best of both worlds from Randle and Floyd, in that he can do everything Floyd can do but might be available to the 49ers at No. 30. Hill is the rightful master of the 2012 NFL Combine, having run a 4.30 40-yard dash and looking phenomenal in receiving drills.
Hill averaged 29.3 yards per catch his senior year at Georgia Tech. He only had 28 catches in the triple-option offense, but they were game-changing catches. Speaking of the offense he was in, it heavily demanded that Hill be involved in run-blocking. In San Francisco, if you're not blocking, you're not playing.
At 6'4", Hill is the biggest of the bunch and still the fastest. He made some eye-popping plays in college, and most scouts think it'll translate well to the pro level. He's been called raw, but the 49ers have a great coaching staff to help players like him flourish. His ceiling could be reached in San Francisco if he really put the work in.
The 49ers need a player like Hill to be the long-term solution at wide receiver. He would be a great addition to Harbaugh's corps of players and a great way to start a successful second draft.
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At this point, it's hard to predict which one of these players will be more successful than the others—I really believe it could go any way.
The positive thing to take away from this is that the 49ers have been linked to all three of these players. Both Randle and Floyd have either visited or been penciled in, for one. While the only thing Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay can agree on is that Hill will be a 49er at No. 30.
Because they are all at least 6'3", anyone of them could be plugged into the 49ers offense and fill that need of a big, physical, playmaking receiver. Whether Floyd is worth moving up for when Randle and Hill would be available, I doubt it.
But one has to be wary that there could be a run on wide receivers in the middle of the first round, and San Francisco could be put in a position where they'd have to think on their feet.
It'd be great to see any one of these wide receivers suit up in red and gold in 2012. Alex Smith needs someone to gel with at the receiver position going down the road. Eventually, Colin Kaepernick is going to step in, and it'd be nice to have an established pro receiver for him to count on.
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