Alex Smith

With the 30th pick in the NFL Draft, the 49ers should select…

… a wide receiver. That’s the going wisdom, and who are we to go against the going wisdom when it might lead to a season where we aren’t subjected to watching Brett Swain or Joe Hastings? No offense to either player, and if either one goes onto “Jeremy Lin” me by becoming the toast of the NFL for a few weeks next year, I wouldn’t be surprised.

I can see it now, “Brett Swain goes on date with Kim Kardashian!” Because if Lin can’t resist the Kim K. gravitational pull, no one can.

Wait, that’s preposterous. Swain isn’t big or fast, and he has ridiculous hair. I’m not exactly proud of this, but I couldn’t pick Hastings out of a lineup unless he was the only one in a 49ers uniform. As it stands right now, Kyle Williams is the team’s No. 2 receiver in 2012. Yep, the Niners should probably draft a wide receiver with their first round selection, unless they get one of the top tier free agent receivers. Even then, they should at least consider taking a wide receiver with the No. 30 overall pick — if the right one’s available.

Trent Baalke’s “right one” might be different than Jim Harbaugh’s “right one.” It’s hard to know what either man values most in a wide receiver, since the only non-practice squad receiver they added that wasn’t already on the team was Braylon Edwards. I have my suspicions that Harbaugh is more interested in multifaceted receivers than many other coaches and personnel evaluators (translation: receivers who are willing and able blockers), but otherwise both Harbaugh and Baalke probably want what we all do: a wideout who’s better than Michael Crabtree.

It’s hard to know which receivers could realistically be available at the end of the first round. Individual workouts and the NFL combine have yet to commence, and there’s still plenty of video to examine and former coaches to interview. So my “right one” when it comes to college receivers may work his way into the top-15 over the coming weeks, but if Michael Floyd of Notre Dame is available the 49ers should pounce.

Some feel like Floyd is firmly entrenched as one of the top three receivers available alongside Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma St.) and Kendall Wright (Baylor), and will be off the board by the time the Niners choose. However, Floyd (bear with me) has had three legal issues related to alcohol and might have a hard time cracking 4.5 on his 40.

After seeing Floyd run (he has NFL-caliber speed), the alcohol thing’s probably a bigger issue.

Floyd was cited for underage consumption twice, and then was arrested for drunken driving in the March before his senior season. Like Aldon Smith’s recent DUI, this wasn’t just a couple glasses of wine with dinner. Like Smith (whose breathalyzer readings were 0.176 and 0.194), Floyd’s blood alcohol number was up there: 0.19.

That could almost be considered a bonus, if Floyd has learned to clean up his act and concerns over his past discretions cause a huge talent to fall a spot or 15 in the Draft. Or, he could be Charles Rogers.

Why Floyd’s the “right one”

I didn’t see LSU play in person, so maybe that’s why I’m not writing a “why the 49ers should take Reuben Randle” post. Same with Rutgers and Mohamed Sanu, South Carolina and Alshon Jeffery, or Arizona and Juron Criner.

I saw Floyd in person when Notre Dame came to The Farm and lost 28-14 to Stanford, and … wow. If the 49ers want a guy who’ll make Alex Smith look about 99% better when he throws out routes and/or jump balls along the sideline, Floyd’s the guy.

Some might look at the game Floyd had and focus on one stat: yards per catch. 8 reception, 92 yards and a touchdown is a great night, but 11.5 yards per catch (also his 2011 season average) isn’t all that exciting. While Floyd caught 100 passes in 13 games, he didn’t catch a lot of long passes (only once in 2011 did Floyd catch a pass of 40+ yards, a 56-yard TD against Navy). But let’s remember a few things here:

— Notre Dame hasn’t exactly had stellar QB play lately. Tommy Rees got pulled in favor of Andrew Hendrix in the game I covered, and neither one were all that good at, you know, passing.

— Nobody catches 100 passes without mixing in some short ones.

— Floyd’s big (6’3″) and was extremely productive throughout his entire career with the Irish. Consistency shouldn’t be a problem. According to Floyd’s draft profile on ESPN Insider (yeah, I broke down and bought it), Floyd “Has excellent height, long arms and big hands. Also has solid bulk and top-end speed is adequate considering size.”

There’s a long way to go before the 49ers head to the war room (and probably pick an offensive lineman or a cornerback, laughing at all the fans and so-called experts who said they had no choice but to draft a receiver), but my early vote goes to Floyd. Here are some highlights that help make my case.

 

http://youtu.be/YtflMDzs-t8
7 Comments
7 comments
Stan
Stan

Darya Folsom called Jeremy Lin this morning "Jeremy Lee"..Jeremy Lin,Bruce Lee, same difference!..there good at what they do!

Jeff
Jeff

While I like Floyd a lot and think he is going to have a really good career, I dont think he is a good fit for the team. I feel like he is more like Crabtree than Randy Moss. And that is someone the 49ers need badly. Someone who can stretch the field, while Crabs and VD work the intermediate and shorter routes. Just dont see that in Floyd.

Scott
Scott

Yeah we also want Justin Blackmon and Andrew Luck but that's not happening either unless we trade up.

GAbravesfan88
GAbravesfan88

1.)I would be all for the 49ers drafting Michael Floyd, legal issues and all.Teenagers and young adults make mistakes, but typically they end up learning from them and it helps them grow as individuals. If I had to trust any coaching staff to motivate and whip a player to ride in his maturity level/off the field focus it would be Mr. Harbaugh.

Greg
Greg

Rone & BASG - I think the one fact that actually works to bolster both of your arguments (that Floyd will be there at 30 & that Baalke won't pick a WR in the 1st) is the fact that this WR draft class is among the best in years. Teams could possibly hold off on that position unless they love a guy and it's a glaring need. Add to that fact that something like 25% of the last 43 WRs taken in the 1st round aren't in the league anymore, and it's clear that there's definitely a chance for a top tier WR to fall a bit.

greebs
greebs

It would be great if this guy is there - they should draft a WR, sign a free agent WR *and* resign Josh Morgan.

RoneFace
RoneFace

First round WR's are such a high risk pick that I have a hard time imagining Harbaugh and Baalke taking one unless they were absolutely in love. Plus, even if you hit on a stud, the most likely outcome is that it takes a year before he fully blossoms. Given that the 49ers are likely looking at this coming season as a potential Super Bowl year, I think it's more likely we'll see them sign a FA WR to help with the now and draft someone in rounds 2-5 to help with the future. Both of these execs seem to like TE and "mighty men" so I would expect the first pick to either be traded or be a lineman.

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