Michael Crabtree is entering the final year of his contract, and although the 49ers have expressed their desire to sign him to a long-term deal, they have to at least prepare for his departure, writes Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Similarly, although Anquan Boldin just signed a two-year deal with the team, his age suggests that the 49ers have to start looking for his eventual replacement as well.
Furthermore, neither of those players offer much of a speed element to the 49ers vertical attack–which helps to explain the natural links that pundits drew connecting DeSean Jackson to San Francisco–so Barrows believes the 49ers need to add both a strong, sturdy receiver as well as a speedster. He notes that the team has the resources–six draft picks in the first three rounds–to fill those needs in this deep class of wide receivers.
Some more notes from the NFC West powerhouse:
- Needless to say, Clemson WR Sammy Watkins would be a “beautiful fit” in the 49ers receiving corps, but Bill Williamson of ESPN.com thinks the price will just be too steep for the 49ers to trade up high enough to draft him. Williamson does not, however, rule it out, given that the team does not have many other holes to fill.
- In a separate piece, Williamson notes that the 49ers were always going to take a cornerback early in the draft, but the uncertainty that Chris Culliver‘s arrest has created makes the team’s need for a corner even more pressing. It was his presence that allowed the 49ers to let Tarell Brown leave for Oakland and stopped them from pushing harder for a free agent like Walter Thurmond. That said, San Francisco may use one or more of its six picks in the first three rounds to move up not for a top-flight receiver, but a top-flight corner.
- In keeping with those sentiments, after projecting the 49ers to draft a receiver in his first several mock drafts, Williamson is now mocking TCU cornerback Jason Verrett to the 49ers with the No. 30 overall selection.