Editor’s note: Matt Maiocco will provide daily content previewing the NFL Draft, including position breakdowns, news stories, mock drafts and more. Here, he analyzes draft prospects at wide receiver, and whether the 49ers should select one.
Coach Chip Kelly this week will pace his team through a three-day minicamp, which will conclude just hours before the Los Angeles Rams go on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick.
Those three days of practices will provide Kelly with an essential tool to evaluate the roster before filling the final 19 roster spots.
“It’s huge. You actually get a chance to get on the field and see them run around,” Kelly answered when CSNBayArea.com recently asked him about the importance of the three-day camp. “So you can make an assessment of everybody. It’s still a tough assessment because there are no pads on, but it’s better than what we’ve had so far.”
The one position where the evaluations of Kelly and his staff could be most pivotal is wide receiver.
The 49ers have made no effort to re-sign veteran Anquan Boldin, presumably because the team wants to give its collection of young receivers an opportunity to take over. If Kelly is less-than impressed, he could give the directive to general manager Trent Baalke to bring back Boldin.
Who’s here: Torrey Smith, Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington, DeAndre Smelter, Jerome Simpson, DeAndrew White, Eric Rogers, Dres Anderson, DiAndre Campbell
Draft needs: Boldin was the best receiver in each of his three seasons with the 49ers. Smith is clearly the No. 1 receiver on the roster now, and the team hopes some of the younger players will make significant strides.
Patton caught 30 passes for 394 yards and a touchdown. Ellington added 13 catches for 153 yards. Smelter, a fourth-round pick last year, is on the field after sitting out his entire rookie season as he rehabbed a knee injury that ended his college career.
Simpson has compiled two 700-yard seasons in his career, which has been derailed by off-field issues and multiple suspensions. After sitting out the 2014 season, Simpson appeared in just six games last year and caught five passes for 54 yards and one touchdown.
The coaches will also get their first good look this week at Rogers, who signed with the 49ers in January after catching 87 passes for 1,448 yards and 10 touchdowns in 17 games with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.
The 49ers do not figure to use a first-round selection on a wide receiver. And with a draft pool that does not look to be as deep as recent years, it’s unlikely the 49ers will end up with a wideout who immediately steps in as a starter.
Good fits: Take the projected first round picks – Laquon Treadwell (Mississippi), Corey Coleman (Baylor), Josh Doctson (TCU) and Will Fuller (Notre Dame) – out of the picture. Now, let’s get down to business.
There are a lot of options for the 49ers to consider through the middle of the draft. The 49ers have shown interest in Pharoh Cooper (South Carolina), whose skills in the return game could make him a factor from Day 1. Leonte Carroo (Rutgers) has demonstrated the best hands in the draft class, according to Pro Football Focus.
Michael Thomas (Ohio State) is an option in the second or third rounds, not to be confused with Mike Thomas (Southern Mississippi), who is good at coming up with the ball in contested situations. The second Thomas should be available on Day 3.
The 49ers reportedly had official visits with Malcolm Mitchell (Georgia) and Kolby Listenbee (TCU). Darius Powe (Cal) had a strong showing, according to a source, when the 49ers worked out quarterback Jared Goff at Cal.