In an NFL Draft class stacked with receivers, a few could very well fall down to the San Francisco 49ers at No. 31. LSU’s Justin Jefferson would be an ideal complement to standout Deebo Samuel to complete the receiving corps.
Last season, it was pretty apparent the Niners were going to pick EDGE Nick Bosa early on. It was an obvious selection, but the correct one.
This year, San Francisco’s decision isn’t anywhere as obvious. The 49ers could go in any number of different directions this year in terms of position or even in terms of a trade.
The most intriguing question will be which talented players fall to the Niners’ selection at No. 31, now highly dependent on what happens with San Francisco’s newest pick, No. 13 overall, acquired in the trade with the Indianapolis Colts for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.
Staying focused on No. 31 for now, if a player does fall, it’s likely to be a wide receiver. The wide receiver class this year is an exciting one, and with so many talented players, it’s inevitable some receivers are going to fall down and be available for San Francisco to peruse.
The 49ers struck gold in selecting Deebo Samuel last year. The talented receiver was a sensation as a rookie and looks set to be the crown jewel in a receiving corps that needs a little bit more tinkering to become the elite group San Francisco wants it to be.
Of the receivers whom the 49ers met with, Jefferson is the most intriguing complement for Samuel if San Francisco chooses to go in that direction.
Jefferson is a taller receiver, standing at 6-foot-3 and 192 pounds. He has excellent hands and timing that allow him to snag passes. And while not he a speedster, he’s more than capable of gaining separation from defenders.
LSU has developed his pro skills well with a good route tree and a strong willingness to block. Varying routes and running the ball are trademark traits of head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and Jefferson has the traits to contribute right away.
Jefferson is pretty versatile in where he can be put on the field as well. He projects well as a lengthy slot receiver, but he has the ability to play outside, too. Versatility in where a receiver lines up is another key trait of the Shanahan offense.
Jefferson’s hands are his best trait. He’s good in other areas such as speed and athleticism, but he’s not going to wow people in those areas. But as a good pair of hands with the necessary traits to become a solid player, he could be a very good No. 2 receiver in the NFL.
The 49ers have interest in him, and he could be a very good complement to Samuel, who needs players around him to help shoulder the load as he becomes more and more of a target for defenses, and Jefferson fits the bill as a guy who can pick up the offense right away and contribute.
Don’t be surprised if the 49ers have another shiny toy for their offense at the end of the first round. If their meetings are any indication, they’re thinking about it and Jefferson could very well be one of those targets.