Joshua Morgan

Not so fast: Baalke prefers quickness in his receivers

The countdown to Draftmas continues with a peek at wide receiver. Since Baalke-claus has been with the organization, the 49ers have selected seven receivers. Again, as with the guards, it is impossible to know which receivers, outside of Kyle Williams and Ronald Johnson, were endorsed by Trent Baalke. Again, the goal is to identify Baalke’s type, by flipping through his little black draft book, which produced these names:

Year Rd Pk HT WT 40 Y/D Vertical Shuttle Broad Jump 3-Cone Drill
R. Marshall 2005 5 38 5-11 185 4.52 38 4.01 10’01” 6.82
B. Williams 2006 3 20 5-9 180 4.48 35.5 4.09 09’07” 6.87`
J. Hill 2007 3 12 6-0 204 4.32 37 4.22 10’03” 7.02
J. Morgan 2008 6 8 6-0 215 4.47 40.5 4.29 10’00” 7.06
M. Crabtree 2009 1 10 6-1 215 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
K. Williams 2010 6 37 5-10 188 4.40 33 4.19 09’10” 7.00
R. Johnson 2011 6 17 5-11 199 4.46 37.5 4.28 10’04” 6.64

It looks like Baalke as a thing for petite, quick receivers — emphasis on the quickness, which is a trait he praised Kyle Williams for having. Crabtree is the outlier in this list, but given the events surrounding the pick, it is not surprising that he doesn’t fit the mold.

Attribute Range Average
Height 5-9 – 6-1 5-11
Weight 185 – 215 198
40 Y/D 4.32 – 4.52 4.44
Vertical 33 – 40.5 37
Shuttle 4.01 – 4.29 4.18
Broad Jump 09’07” – 10’04” 10’00
3-Cone Drill 6.64 – 7.06 6.90

These numbers are pretty similar, especially in regards to size and speed. It is also important to note college production. All of the receivers, save Rasheed Marshall, had plenty of game experience at the position and were relatively successful. In fact, since the days of Bill Walsh, every receiver selected by the 49ers in the first round has been a prolific pass catcher in college.

Rd G Rec Yds Y/C TD Lg Avg/G
R. Marshall 5 42 2 22 11.0 0 N/A N/A
B. Williams 3 52 202 2924 14.4 10 N/A 56.2
J. Hill 3 32 148 2704 17.8 32 80 84.5
J. Morgan 6 51 122 1817 14.9 16 80 35.6
M. Crabtree 1 24 231 3127 13.5 41 N/A N/A
K. Williams 6 41 109 1626 14.9 18 80 74.1
R. Johnson 6 47 138 1750 12.7 20 N/A N/A

Given what we know of Baalke’s type, as well as a rudimentary knowledge of 49ers receivers, here is a list of players Baalke would and would not be interested in:

Round 1:

Most Likely: Nobody

Proj HT WT G Rec YDs 40 Y/D Vert Shuttle Broad Jump 3-Cone Drill
0 0-0 000 0 00 000 0.00 0 0.00 00’00” 0.00

Aside from Michael Crabtree, the 49ers don’t draft WRs in the first round. I distinctly remember Baalke discussing drafting receivers on KNBR. During the interview, Baalke noted that good wide receivers could be found later in the draft. Unfortunately, I cannot find a quote to substantiate my memory. Quote or no quote, Baalke’s track record suggests that I’m not senile — not yet, anyway.

Maybe: Kendall Wright, Baylor

Proj HT WT G Rec YDs 40 Y/D Vert Shuttle Broad Jump 3-Cone Drill
1 5-11 196 50 302 4004 4.61 38.5 4.18 10’01” 6.93

His 40-time notwithstanding, Wright is the quintessential 49er receiver. His shuttle, broad jump, and 3-cone drill results fit the average almost perfectly. What’s more, he was productive. Wright’s college production rivals that of Jerry Rice, who clocked a 4.59 40-time at 1985 NFL Combine. Perhaps Wright’s most attractive trait is his quickness. ESPN Insider notes that Wright might be one of the quickest receivers in the draft, while the National Football Post found Wright to accelerate quickly, allowing him to “eat up” cushions and beat press coverage.

Definitely Not: Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech

Proj HT WT G Rec YDs 40 Y/D Vert Shuttle Broad Jump 3-Cone Drill
1 6-4 215 50 49 1248 4.36 39.5 4.48 11’01” 6.88

I know, SI’s Tony Pauline’s “sources” believe the 49ers will pick either a guard or Stephen Hill. But I’m still skeptical. My personal opinion aside, Hill does not fit Baalke’s type. He would not only be the tallest receiver drafted, but he’d also be the least productive first round selection. What’s more, Hill lacks the quickness that Baalke covets. Though he has speed, Hill does not possess the requisite quickness, which is exhibited by his slow 20-yard shuttle time. draft analysts confirm this, noting that Hill is not “overly sudden” or “overly explosive.”

Rounds 2-7:

I’m clustering a lot of rounds together here, but wide receiver is a crapshoot. Three of the last four receivers selected by the 49ers were taken in the sixth round. So, as with the guards, I’m only going to give you the “likelies” because they are the most relevant.

Marvin Jones, California

Proj HT WT G Rec YDs 40 Y/D Vert Shuttle Broad Jump 3-Cone Drill
2-3 6-2 199 43 156 2270 4.46 33 4.11 09’04” 6.81

Jones fits the physical mold to a tee. He was productive college player, who proved his quickness and route-running against the Senior Bowl’s superior competition, as Frank Cooney points out.’s Rob Rang confirmed this, noting that Jones “was quick off the snap, showed burst out of his breaks to gain separation and the speed to slip past cornerbacks for big plays.” National Football Post too applauds Jones for being a “surprisingly pretty smooth route runner,” especially on “sharply breaking routes.”

Brian Quick, Appalachian State

Proj HT WT G Rec YDs 40 Y/D Vert Shuttle Broad Jump 3-Cone Drill
2-3 6-3 220 52 202 3418 4.55 34 4.23 09’11” 7.10

Quick is a stretch. Though he was a dominant force in college, he is much larger and slower than precedent. That aside, Quick has the, ahem, quickness that Baalke desires. As Greg Gabriel of National Football Post reports, Quick is “athletic and can get in and out of cuts with good quickness.” ESPN Insider notes that Quick “shows above-average fluidity for his size and can drop his weight to make a smooth transition with lateral cuts.” If Baalke were to surprise us with a pick, it would Quick.

Jarius Wright, Arkansas

Proj HT WT G Rec YDs 40 Y/D Vert Shuttle Broad Jump 3-Cone Drill
5-6 5-10 182 50 168 2934 4.42 38 4.03 10’00” 6.93

Wright is the quintessential 49ers receiver, in both physical build and skill set. As ESPN Insider notes, Wright is quicker than he is fast. Dane Brugler of calls him “Mr. Reliable,” because he “competes or every pass with reliable hands to make catches away from his frame and great hand/eye coordination to routinely come down with the reception.” National Football Posts adds that Write is “sharp as a route runner, tough over the middle and knows how to get open vs. man and zone.”

Keshawn Martin, Michigan State

Proj HT WT G Rec YDs 40 Y/D Vert Shuttle Broad Jump 3-Cone Drill
6-FA 6-0 188 48 127 1714 4.45 39.5 4.13 10’02” 6.85

Perhaps not as prolific as the others, Martin possesses the same physical characteristics that Baalke covets. ESPN Insider believes that Martin “has outstanding suddenness” with good “pop coming out of breaks.” National Football Posts calls Martin a “slippery receiver” who does a “nice job setting up blocks, is lose in the hips and accelerates very quickly out of his breaks.”

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