A year ago, the 49ers investigated the possibility of moving up from late in the first round of the draft to select Odell Beckham.
Once they deemed the price was too steep, the 49ers decided to wait until the fourth round to select a wide receiver. That’s when the 49ers grabbed Bruce Ellington with the No. 106 pick in the draft.
Marqise Lee, Jordan Matthews, Paul Richardson, Davante Adams and Cody Latimer were all chosen after the 49ers’ first-round pick of defensive back Jimmie Ward and before the team made its second pick – going with running back Carlos Hyde.
Receivers Allen Robinson and Jarvis Landry were selected before the 49ers picked again.
In the past five drafts, the 49ers used a Top-100 selection to select a wide receiver just once. That was in 2012 with the ill-fated No. 30 overall selection of A.J. Jenkins, whom the 49ers shipped away after just one season.
The 49ers are giving indications they do not plan to wait until the fourth round to select a wide receiver in this year’s draft.
The 49ers own the No. 15 pick, which allows them a lot of flexibility to move up, move back or stand pat. And they can address a lot of different positions early in this draft. But based on their pre-draft activity, the 49ers appear ready take advantage of what is expected to be another strong class of wideouts.
The 49ers’ top two draft selections are scheduled at Nos. 15 (first round) and 46 (second round). And here are some of the wide receivers with whom the 49ers are known to have made contact:
Kevin White, West Virginia (6-2 ½, 215): He made a strong impression during the interview process at the combine. The 49ers met with him there, and he is one of the team’s official visits. The 49ers would have to trade up to get him.
Amari Cooper, Alabama (6-0 7/8, 211): He also figures to be long gone by the time the 49ers pick at No. 15. And with a strong class of wide receivers, is it worth the cost to move up when there will be plenty of options within the first couple of rounds?
DeVante Parker, Louisville (6-2 5/8, 209): The 49ers have spent plenty of time with him already. If he falls to No. 15, he might be the top option. But, more than likely, the 49ers would have to move up a couple of spots to get him.
Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri (6-5 1/8, 237): No player in the draft has as much boom-or-bust potential at Green-Beckham. And that would explain why the 49ers are doing all the homework on this prospect. If there weren’t off-field concerns, he would be a slam-dunk top-15 pick. But with his background, it would not be a shock to see him slide into the second round. Green-Beckham worked out with Colin Kaepernick in Arizona.
Sammie Coates, Auburn (6-1 3/8, 212): He caught only 34 passes in 12 games before declaring for the draft, but his 21.4 average on 82 catches during his three-year college career gets everybody’s attention. He’ll reportedly make an official visit to meet with the club next week. He could be an option in the middle of the second round.
The 49ers have also had various amounts of activity with wide receivers who are a little smaller in stature, such as Devin Smith, Ohio State (6-0 3/8, 196); Phillip Dorsett, Miami (5-9 3/4, 185); Stefon Diggs, Maryland (6-0, 195).
The team is undoubtedly also spending plenty of time evaluating other wide receivers, such as Breshad Perriman (Central Florida), Jaelen Strong (Arizona State) and Nelson Agholor (USC). There have been no reports of specific contract with those players.
Here’s the complete tracker of 49ers pre-draft activity with prospects.