SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The 2017 NFL draft is set to begin on April 27 in Philadelphia. The San Francisco 49ers own 10 picks in this year's draft, including No. 2 overall.
With a new regime in coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch in place, it's hard to know what direction the Niners will go with their picks. But the 49ers have plenty of needs as they go about reconstructing their roster.
Here's a look at what the 49ers need at wide receiver:
Potential fits: Clemson WR Mike Williams, Washington WR John Ross, Western Michigan WR Corey Davis, East Carolina WR Zay Jones, USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, California WR Chad Hansen, Oklahoma WR Dede Westbrook, Eastern Washington WR Cooper Kupp, Louisiana Tech WR Carlos Henderson.
What's needed: Other than quarterback, no position on the roster underwent a bigger makeover this offseason than receiver. In Garcon, the Niners got a go-to receiver who also can serve as a mentor for the young wideouts in the group. Goodwin is expected to line up opposite Garcon and offer a speedy complement, while Kerley and Ellington will work out of the slot. Robinson offers some depth and the rest will likely compete for spots. So what's missing from this group? The same thing many teams are searching for: a true No. 1 receiver who can change games.
At the league meetings a few weeks ago, Shanahan talked about how having a player like Julio Jones can alter everything for an offense. Obviously, those types of players are hard to find. And the early read on this draft class is that there's not a receiver with the type of ability of guys like Jones, A.J. Green or other top wideouts to come out in the past seven or so years. However, this is an intriguing draft class with a lot of different types of receivers who could grow into a top receiving option. Adding a big, physical wideout with game-breaking skills would certainly complement Garcon's hard-nosed intermediate skills and the deep speed of Goodwin while also presumably opening things up for them.
Verdict: Given the lack of a Jones-level prospect, it's unlikely the Niners would spend the No. 2 overall pick on a receiver but that doesn't mean they wouldn't consider taking one in the first round if they could find a trade-down partner. Lynch and Shanahan have made it clear they are willing to auction that second pick and if they moved down into the seven to 14 range, it might be a sweet spot to land someone such as Williams or Davis. From a measurables standpoint, Williams has the size and build of a No. 1 wideout and though his speed might be a question, he's at his best on contested throws. Davis is known as an elite route runner with great hands who could transition quickly to the league. Ross, of course, owns world-class speed that can turn games on a dime.
If the Niners don't make such a move, they would still be wise to invest in a receiver at some point later in the draft. Kupp, Henderson or Hansen would make a fine addition in the middle rounds and even if none turns into the top target, each could become solid second or third options in the passing game sooner than later.
One way or the other, don't be surprised if the 49ers come away with at least one wideout in this year's draft.