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Does Anquan Boldin Signing Change Draft Plans?

Posted Mar 6, 2014

Will Anquan Boldin's two-year contract change the 49ers draft plans come May 8?


But then again, who really knows what’s for certain as of March 6, exactly 64 days before the NFL Draft?

On the surface, most mock drafts have a wide receiver going to the 49ers with the No. 30 overall selection. That sure-thing, however, now looks questionable with Anquan Boldin agreeing to terms on a two-year contract to remain in San Francisco.

“The Boldin deal is great for the 49ers, keeping that chemistry with Colin Kaepernick, and it gives him another go-to wide receiver and a safety valve,” Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller told 49ers.com.

If the 49ers do in fact take a receiver, Miller said he believes the Boldin deal helps mock-draft-writing analysts identify the profile of a future wide receiver draft selection.

“I think it helps me focus on the type of player the 49ers need at pick No. 30,” said Miller, who previously had Penn State receiver Allen Robinson and Oregon State’s, Brandin Cooks, the 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner, as San Francisco’s choices in previous trial drafts.

The 49ers are not guaranteed to take a receiver on May 8, but if they do, Miller has an idea of who could be paired in a receiving group featuring Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Quinton Patton.

“If the 49ers are looking for a receiver in the first round, I’m looking for a guy with play-making speed, maybe a guy like Cooks or even Marqise Lee from USC,” the draft analyst said.

“If you’re looking to complete the offense, I think you need a receiver who has that deep speed, can stretch a defense and finally let Kaepernick show off his big arm.”

Other first-round targets could include LSU products, Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. Beckham totaled 59 catches, 1,152 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 2013. Landry led the Tigers with 77 receptions, 1,193 receiving yards and 10 touchdown catches.

“I like both of these guys a lot,” said Miller, who has Beckham rated higher than his kick-returning teammate, Landry.

Beckham’s biggest strength is athleticism.

“He’s incredibly tough and he’s able to make contested catches,” Miller said of the 5-foot-11, 198-pound LSU wideout.  “We saw at the combine, he was one of the faster receivers there. He’s a smaller guy who can track the ball well and has a great vertical leap (38.5 inches at the combine), which really helps separate the smaller guys.”

Landry, on the other hand, didn’t have the same showing in Indianapolis as his teammate. Beckham was clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash; Landry injured his hamstring and posted a time of 4.7.

“I liked Landry as that over the middle, intermediate target guy,” Miller said of the 5-foot-11, 205-pound receiver. “He has great body awareness and flexibility.”

Of the two options, Miller said he sees Landry as being more likely to be available at pick No. 30.

If the 49ers don’t take a receiver in round one, keep in mind that general manager Trent Baalke has ammunition to take a pass-catcher in other rounds. The 49ers will have at least 11 draft picks before compensatory selections are announced. In addition, San Francisco owns five picks within the top 94 selections.

So if the team goes a different route with the No. 30 pick, which other receivers could be options for other rounds of the draft?

“I really like Donte Moncrief,” Miller said of Mississippi’s 6-foot-2, 221-pound wideout. “He has speed and he has the size.”

Moncrief ran a 4.4 in the 40 and produced 59 catches, 938 receiving yards and six touchdowns as a junior.

According to Miller, other names to consider are 6-foot-2, 215-pound, Indiana wideout Cody Latimer (72 receptions, 1,096 receiving yards and nine touchdowns) and 6-foot-, 197-pound, Texas receiver Mike Davis (51 catches, 727 receiving yards and eight touchdowns).

Both players are considered by Miller as under-the-radar prospects.

Miller said he sees Latimer as being overlooked because Latimer didn’t attend a football powerhouse. Davis, too, is going unnoticed because he wasn’t able to participate at the combine due to a medical issue.

Latimer and Davis could improve their draft standings with solid pro days. Coincidentally, pro days at Indiana and Texas will each take place on March 26.


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