According to NFL.com beat writer Ian Rapoport, the 49ers made a “late push” to go after free agent wide receiver DeSean Jackson, ultimately losing out to the Washington Redskins.
With the DeSean Jackson free agency drama out of the way, it’s onward to the NFL Draft for San Francisco, who will be eyeing two key positions.
One is at cornerback, which may prove to be the No. 1 need after 49er defensive back Chris Culliver was recently arrested for felony hit-and-run as well as felony possession of brass knuckles.
Culliver, who missed the entire 2013 season with a knee injury, was being tabbed to start for the 49ers after both Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers signed to play across the bay in Oakland.
Now with the arrest, the 49ers may look to take a DB in the first round.
A second key position, maybe the biggest need for this 49er squad, is at WR, in particular, a burner. DeSean Jackson would have filled that need perfectly, but now, the 49ers must address this in the upcoming draft.
In the three playoff games for the 49ers, rookie receiver Quinton Patton had just two catches for 25 yards, including one catch for two yards in the NFC Title game against Seattle.
A burner like DeSean Jackson would have created matchup problems for Seattle and their secondary, the best in the NFL. Lining up a burner on Richard Sherman would have been a legit mismatch for “The best corner in the game”, as Colts WR T.Y. Hilton proved when he torched the Seattle secondary on 5-catches for 140 yards and two scores.
This would have opened up the field for Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, as well as the middle of the field for Vernon Davis.
The 49ers need to figure out before the NFL Draft, if Quinton Patton is their third or perhaps fourth wide receiver and if he can be that burner that DeSean Jackson is. If not, then the 49ers could eye a receiver like California native Brandin Cooks, who grew up a Niners fan.
The former Oregon State receiver, Cooks ran the fastest 40-yard dash at the combine at 4.33. Although with pads on, Cook may not be the fastest guy on the field, his play is intriguing and could be the missing piece to the 49er Super Bowl puzzle that has eluded them the last three seasons.
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