It's time to sort out all the latest news, storylines and rumors for the San Francisco 49ers.
Will the 49ers take Coby Fleener?
Will they trade up for David DeCastro?
Should they address the wide receiver position early in the draft?
The team is loaded with talent at most positions, and as such, Trent Baalke has the freedom to take the best player available at each draft slot.
Here are the top news stories, rumors and storylines for your 49ers leading up to the draft.
There is never much real news about what the 49ers are going to do in the draft. Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh are as tight-lipped as anyone in the NFL.
There are other nuggets to share, however.
The 49ers won't be receiving any compensatory picks this year, per Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.
Per CSNBayArea.com, the 49ers will be holding their pro day on April 18 for local players who would otherwise never get the opportunity to show their stuff. It's not a waste of time, though, as you can often find diamonds in the rough on occasions such as this.
Here is a list of all the players who have either come to Santa Clara for visits or who have had the 49ers send someone their way:
- Per ProFootballTalk, running backs David Wilson, Isaiah Pead and Robert Turbin have all been visited by a member of the 49ers scouting department. All three could be marvelous additions to the team's expanding stable of running backs. Bye, bye Anthony Dixon...
- Per ProFootball.Scout.com, the 49ers also took Travaris Cadet out of Appalachian State to dinner. He isn't expected to come off the board until late in the draft, if at all, and I'm curious to know what they might see in his future.
- Per the Sacramento Bee, wide receiver Kendall Wright came into town for a private visit with the 49ers. He could be a terrific addition for the future of the team's wide receiving corps.
- Also per the Bee, wide receiver Stephen Hill will be dropping by team facilities for a one-on-one. If I had my preference, I'd take the upside of Hill over Wright.
- Per ProFootballTalk, wide receivers A.J. Jenkins and Rueben Randle will or have been visited. Four of the top receivers in the draft are being considered by the 49ers, and you have to believe at least one of them will end up being drafted or at the very least targeted.
- Per CSNBayArea.com, center Jason Slowey out of Western Oregon has been targeted for a visit. The 49ers are in the market for a replacement center for Jonathan Goodwin, but Slowey is certainly a sleeper to be that guy.
- Per ProFootball.Scout.com, center Chris Anzevino out of Kent State worked out for the team in late March. He's another late-round guy that could eventually replace Goodwin. Personally, I'd much rather see the team take one of the top centers.
- Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times is reporting via Twitter that pass-rusher Claude Davis out of USF has a visit scheduled with the 49ers. Don't forget that Baalke struck gold with an USF alumnus when he took Bruce Miller to convert him to a fullback.
- Per ProFootball.Scout.com, outside linebacker Bobby Wagner out of Utah State has a visit scheduled with the 49ers. He is a fast-rising prospect who wowed everyone at his pro day with a 4.46-second 40-yard dash time (H/T NFLDraftScout.com). The ceiling for him is so high it makes me drool.
- Per ProFootball.Scout.com, outside linebacker Bruce Irvin is scheduled for a visit as well. Irvin is even faster than Wagner—he ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash—though he is much more raw otherwise.
- SFGate.com has confirmed that a 49ers scout went to Northwestern State's pro day to visit with cornerback Jeremy Lane. The 49ers have shown a willingness to give small-school corners a chance, having drafted Philip Adams out of South Carolina State in the seventh round.
- CSNBayArea.com is reporting that the Detroit Free Press confirmed a private workout was held by the 49ers for cornerback Jeremy Jones out of Wayne State.
- Per ProFootball.Scout.com, safety Jordan Berstine out of Iowa has already had a private workout fot 49ers scouts. Baalke and his scouts don't leave any stone unturned, and with that strategy they're bound to find some gems among the rubble.
- CSNBayArea.com is reporting that Sports Illustrated confirmed an interview with safety Sean Richardson out of Vanderbilt.
There have also been rumors that the 49ers have been interested in a couple players of note:
- Eric Branch of SFGate.com says that Coby Fleener is on the 49ers' radar. I'll have more on this topic later on.
- Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says that the 49ers are interested in guard Amini Silatolu out of Midwestern State. He is an attractive option as a mid-round prospect, and I'd be thrilled if they landed him at the end of the third round.
There isn't much to report on this front. The 49ers don't currently have any players on the trading block, and I'll be surprised to see them try and move up in the first round of the draft.
That being said, it's fun to speculate about which players would be worth trading up for and which players currently on their roster might be used as a bargaining chip in the draft.
NBCBayArea's Doug Williams speculates that the 49ers could be interested in trading up to snag wide receiver Michael Floyd out of Notre Dame to bolster their ever-improving corps of pass-catchers. That is a risk I'm not willing to take, though, and there are better options if the team were to trade up.
Though there isn't any reliable source to back me up, I speculate that the player the 49ers could consider moving up to snag would be offensive guard David DeCastro out of Stanford, the best overall lineman in this year's draft class.
Then there's the Mike Wallace trade rumor. ProFootballTalk reported as recently as March 19 that Wallace is still a possibility for the 49ers. They would have to give up their first-round pick and a boatload of money to do it, but it is technically still something they could try and pull off.
I'm not high on trying to land Wallace at this time, though I was heavily in favor of pursuing him at the beginning of free agency.
I'm convinced that Trent Baalke will be content to hang onto his 30th-overall selection and take the best player available...unless DeCastro falls into the 20s. If that happens, he should jump at the chance to land him.
The hottest topic around the bay area concerning the 49ers seems to be Coby Fleener: Will the 49ers select him at No. 30, provided he's still on the board?
Eric Branch of SFGate.com does a good job of laying out the reasons for such a move in a post titled, "Stanford tight end Coby Fleener on 49ers' radar."
Grant Cohn has recently Tweeted:
Coby Fleener is the next Tony Gonzalez. He should be a top-five pick.
— Grant Cohn (@grantcohn) April 14, 2012
I'm not so sure about this one, but it's clear to see how much traction this idea is gaining in San Francisco's media circles.
Fleener ran a scalding 4.45 second 40-yard dash time at his pro day, per Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports.
That's a darn good time for a wide receiver, let alone a 6'6", 250-pound tight end. Fleener has the hands of a top receiver, too, not to mention he is an effective run-blocker.
With Delanie Walker's contract running out after the end of this year, it does make sense to look to the future now. Fleener paired with Vernon Davis would give the 49ers a one-two punch that rivals the New England Patriots duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
The thing that gives me pause is that taking Fleener seems like more of a luxury pick than anything else. My preference would be to secure the offensive line with either Cordy Glenn, Kevin Zeitler or Peter Konz.
The departure of Adam Snyder to the Arizona Cardinals opens up a true need—the only real "need" the 49ers have in this year's draft.
Still, Fleener is an attractive offensive weapon that could potentially help the 49ers improve their red zone numbers from last year.
It wouldn't surprise me to see Trent Baalke pull the trigger on this deal if Fleener is sitting there when they pick.
That being said, if I had my druthers about a bold move in the first round, it would be to trade up to the middle of the first for David DeCastro.
The only real position of "need" for the 49ers is at offensive guard.
They lost Adam Snyder to the Arizona Cardinals and have allowed Chilo Rachal to go his own way. That leaves Mike Iupati and Daniel Kilgore as the two remaining offensive guards currently on the 49ers roster.
NBCBayArea's Doug Williams makes a good case why this might be the year for Kilgore to come through as the next starter after the 49ers traded up to land him in the fifth round last year.
Eric Branch of SFGate.com argues that the 49ers shouldn't use their first-round pick to secure the offensive line. He believes the best move would be to land one of the many excellent guards in the middle rounds.
I tend to agree with Branch. I'm not sold on Kilgore as the starter just yet, but he was an offensive tackle at Appalachian State on a line that only gave up eight sacks in 13 games in his final season. That means he is an adept pass-blocker—something that's been missing at the guard position for years now.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea recently wrote that Alex Boone is expected to get the chance to compete with Kilgore to win the starting job.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee argues that Anthony Davis would be a better fit at guard, allowing Boone to move to right tackle.
I'm going with Barrows on this one.
Either way, the 49ers have a ton of options as it stands right now to fill the void left by Snyder and Rachal. The only problem is that they are all unproven.
I do believe that there is a good chance they take another offensive lineman in the first round to give them the best chance to secure that position for their run at the title in 2012. The only question is who will they take?
Despite the additions of Mario Manningham and Randy Moss, the 49ers are seemingly still hot to trot for another game-breaking wide receiver.
As I mentioned in an earlier slide, they have already visited with or are intending to visit with Stephen Hill out of Georgia Tech, Kendall Wright out of Baylor, Rueben Randle out of LSU and A.J. Jenkins out of Illinois.
Out of the four, only Jenkins would be considered a stretch for a first-round grade.
It's not out of the question for the team to take a receiver at No. 30, but I have to believe that the likelier scenario is that the guys they are looking at will already be taken by the time they pick and the 49ers will end up taking either the best available cornerback or defensive end/outside linebacker.
Those two positions are far less likely to bust out than a receiver, and this year's wide receiving group is deep, making a second- or third-round selection more likely in my mind.
Stay tuned as we inch closer to the 2012 NFL draft. Until then, try and keep yourselves otherwise occupied or you'll go crazy with anticipation. Thanks for reading and making Bleacher Report your premier source for all your 49ers and NFL news, reaction and analysis.