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What kind of receiver will the 49ers seek in the draft?
To best attack the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive backfield, should the 49ers go after a fast wide receiver or a big, physical one? That was the question reader Will submitted during our weekly 49ers chat.
The 49ers already have two physical wide receivers who are on the slow side. And that certainly did not work last season.
Anquan Boldin, 34, who remains a free agent, is not going to be getting any faster. Michael Crabtree was not a speedster coming out of college, and he was a tick slower last season after coming back from surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. The 49ers hope he will be back running at top speed next season.
Boldin and Crabtree are terrific route-runners who use their bodies to shield defenders. Neither is able to generate much separation, but both have incredible hands and can make tough catches in traffic. But the 49ers will be in the market for a wide receiver who can take the top off a defense – off the Seahawks’ defense, to be specific.
During the regular season, the only wide receivers to have big days against Seattle were Jacksonville’s Cecil Shorts (eight catches, 143 yards) and Indianapolis’ T.Y. Hilton (five receptions, 140 yards, two touchdowns).
Shorts (5 foot 11 ¾) did not run well at the combine, clocking a 4.59 seconds in the 40. He lowered his time to between 4.35 and 4.45 at this pro day. Hilton (5-9 ½) reportedly ran a 4.34 at his pro day after not running at the combine.
Ideally, the 49ers want a wide receiver who is big and fast. After all, the 49ers will continue to ask their wide receivers to be blockers, too. But speed is essential for any wideout the 49ers select in May.
Forty-eight wide receivers were invited to the NFL scouting combine, which opens this week in Indianapolis. The wideouts are scheduled to run on Sunday.