The 49ers love big-bodied receivers, and the upcoming draft is loaded with them. The question for most of those players, however, is how well they can move that size, and it's something they will attempt to answer in Indianapolis starting late next week when they run the 40-yard dash. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock today talked about three receivers - South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery, Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu and LSU's Rueben Randle - who have been linked to the 49ers at pick No. 30.
Mayock ranks them like this:
Rueben Randle, 6-4, 208. Said Mayock: "I think he's going to run just fine. I've got a first-round grade on him. I have (Justin) Blackmon, Kendall Wright , Michael Floyd and Rueben Randle with first-round grades. I think those are the four wideouts that should go in the first round. From my perspective, Randle should go in the second half of the first round, in that 20-30 range. If he comes into the combine and runs a 4.38 at 208 pounds, that might change some things. He might go higher. But he's a guy who's extremely well thought of and a guy who could fit for the 49ers depending on how the process plays out."
Alshon Jeffery, 6-4, 229. Said Mayock: "He was listed at, what, 6-4, 229? I don't know what he actually played at. I've heard recently - and there are a lot of rumors out there - that he put weight on. I don't really care what he weighs in at. If he's smart and his agent is smart, he'll come in at about 220 and in the best shape of his life to run his 40. Just like Mohamed Sanu, just like a bunch of other big-bodied wide receivers in this particular draft - (Jeff) Fuller from A.M. - what they run is going to be important. Alshon Jeffery does not separate. He struggles getting off the line of scrimmage against quality press corners. The same with Mohamed Sanu. ... He (Jeffery) needs to come in and run somewhere in the mid 4.5s, worst case scenario. You start seeing 4.6, 4.65, it's going to be a problem."
Mohamed Sanu, 6-2, 215. Said Mayock: "I don't have Alshon Jeffery or Mohamed Sanu with first-round grades. I don't think either of them separates, they have trouble getting off press coverage. By the way, Sanu had 115 catches this year. Some of them were of the sick variety - really impressive, one-handed, beautiful catches. So he's a guy I want to like and want to believe in. But he's not sudden. He doesn't have great acceleration. In the NFL, everything will be contested. And that's where you get nervous with those big-bodied guys. If they can't get open, will every throw will be contested?"
For what it's worth, the mock drafts have started to proliferate. Here's what a couple of prognosticators wrote about the 49ers' pick at No. 30.
National Football Post's Wes Bunting: Sanu. "Sanu is a monster with good quickness for his size and a real physical dimension to his game. He offers the ability to run after the catch and can contribute inside from day one."
ESPN's Mel Kiper: Randle: "Randle could be a steal. This is a guy who, in a more dynamic passing offense, could have been far more productive. Obviously, the combine will tell us a lot, but Randle could be preferred over Alshon Jeffery of South Carolina, because he has the length, but will be a lot quicker into and out of his breaks because he's got a leaner frame. He's better suited to beat opposing defenses over the top. The Niners need a big target in the passing game outside of Vernon Davis, and Randle could be that guy."
CBS Sports' Rob Rang has the 49ers taking Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard at No. 30 and Randle going one pick later to the Patriots.
-- Matt Barrows