The 49ers offseason will have close evaluations at the wide receiver position throughout the next two months. While Anquan Boldin is a pending free agent, the team needs WRs for the long term whether he re-signs or not.
Michael Crabtree is entering his contract year in 2014, where it is uncertain what the team will do with him beyond this season. Quinton Patton, the team's 2013 draft pick is the only significant WR under contract after 2014.
It won't necessarily be about size, but the 49ers need to find a deep threat this offseason. There are no vertical threats at the wide receiver position as TE Vernon Davis is the only player to have such a presence. The good news for the 49ers is that this one of the deepest WR draft classes in years, with several players who could be taken in the first round.
Here is a rundown of potential WRs who the 49ers could be drafting in May that fit the bill of speed:
1. Sammy Watkins (Clemson)
The 49ers would have to give up a significant package if they wanted to trade up and draft Watkins. Several experts project the WR to be drafted in the top-10 as Watkins is one of the most complete playmakers. He would be one of the most explosive weapons for the 49ers out of the wide receivers.
2. Mike Evans (Texas A&M)
Evans has the combination of size and athleticism for a wide receiver. At 6-5, 225 pounds, he could be a vertical threat as well as an instant red zone target for the 49ers. Evans was one of Johnny Manziel's favorite targets at A&M where he compiled 1,322 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Realistically, he could be a target from 11th to 20th overall and the 49ers could easily trade up for him if they see him fit.
3. Kelvin Benjamin (Florida State)
Like Evans, Benjamin fits the bill of having the height, weight and speed for a wide receiver. While he is still raw, at 6-5, 234 pounds, Benjamin is one of the most athletic WRs in this class. Teams should value his size as could be a mid-first-round draft pick.
4. Davante Adams (Fresno State)
Adams is a large, physical wideout who could be the immediate No.2 WR next to Crabtree if he was drafted by the 49ers. The 6-2, 216 pound receiver led the nation with 24 touchdown receptions with Derek Carr throwing to him at Fresno State. If the 49ers value another position in the first round, they could use their early second-round pick on Adams.
5. Allen Robinson (Penn State)
Robinson has a large frame at 6-3, 210 pounds who has the ability to be a dangerous catch-and-run player. He is physical enough to work between defenders despite not having elite vertical speed. While Robinson isn't the fastest WR, he is solid enough to be a threat in the passing game. He is projected to be a second-round draft pick.
6. Odell Beckham Jr. (LSU)
The 6-0 receiver might lack the size, but he would bring another vertical threat to the table as he is dangerous with the ball in the open field. Beckham is an excellent route runner who is projected as a second-round pick.
7. Jarvis Landry (LSU)
Mike Mayock called Landry one of the toughest players in this draft class regardless of his position. He is a physical receiver who can make plays in traffic. At 6-0, 195 pounds, he doesn't have the size, but Landry is a solid route runner who claw his way to receptions. Landry has a second-round projection.
8. Donte Moncrief (Ole Miss)
Moncrief is not the fastest WR, but he's another tough and athletic receiver who isn't scared of press coverage. He has a great 6-3, 226 pound frame where the WR can block, have excellent hands and be a presence even in the running game. He lacks the explosiveness that Watkins has, but he is still a threat against opposing cornerbacks. Moncrief's draft projection could be as high as the late first round to as low as an early third round pick.