Here's what Pro Football Weekly draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki had to say about the 49ers and taking a wide receiver in the first round of next month's draft. "You can find them anywhere throughout this draft, so I don't know if they should reach for one that early." In his most recent mock draft, Nawrocki has the 49ers selecting Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler.
I asked Nawrocki about two receivers in particular, Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill, whose size-speed combination has caused a buzz over the last month, and Baylor's Kendall Wright, who in mock drafts typically goes much earlier than pick No. 30.
Nawrocki said he thought Hill, who played in a triple option at Georgia Tech, was more like a third-round pick. Nawrocki noted that Hill had an excellent workout at the combine where he was the fastest wide receiver in the 40-yard dash, and that his measurables could cause him to be taken in the first round.
He doesn't think Hill warrants a first-round grade. "I think he's graded out more like a third rounder on tape," Nawrocki said. "His production has been very minimal. You look at how he's been used in an offense. He's not a sophisticated route runner." In his latest mock, Nawrocki has Hill going to New England at pick No. 31, one selection after the 49ers.
As for Wright, Nawrocki said the receiver had some character concerns that might cause him to slip. Wright ran a very pedestrian 40-yard dash at the scouting combine (4.61 seconds), but improved at his pro day last week (4.44 seconds). Another drill at the pro day caught Nawrocki's eye.
"He's a little too emotional, his work ethic has come into question after his pro day," he said of Wright. "He only bench-pressed 225 pounds four times. For that reason alone, I think there's a chance he'll be sitting there at 30." Nawrocki does not have Wright in the first round in his latest mock draft.
Another receiver who promises to be available at pick No. 30, South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery, had his pro day today. Jeffery dropped another three pounds since the combine last month, measuring 6-3, 213 pounds. He reportedly ran his 40-yard dash in the high 4.4-second range to the low 4.5-second range, which was essential for a player whose rap is that he does not separate from defensive backs.
One area of caution when it comes to Jeffery and the 49ers: He is represented by Eugene Parker. And we all remember what happen the last time the 49ers drafted a wide receiver represented by Parker. (See: Crabtree, Michael; circa July-Oct 2009). Southeast area scout Justin Chabot -- he scouts most of the SEC teams -- was on hand for the 49ers at South Carolina's pro day.
-- Matt Barrows