San Francisco 49ers: 5 sleeper wide receivers to target in NFL Draft

Nico Collins #4 of the Michigan Wolverines (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Nico Collins #4 of the Michigan Wolverines (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /
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Brandon Smith, Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa Hawkeyes wide receiver Brandon Smith (12) Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /

Wide Receiver. Hawkeyes . Brandon Smith. 5. player. 878.

49ers Draft Target No. 5: Brandon Smith, Iowa

The Niners are going to need a possession-type wide receiver if they’re unable to retain Kendrick Bourne this offseason, particularly someone to help on third downs and within the red zone — two areas in which Bourne has usually thrived over his four-year career.

San Francisco hasn’t been shy about targeting Iowa offensive players under Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch, namely tight end George Kittle and quarterback C.J. Beathard. And while the Hawkeyes’ offensive system is known more for its rushing prowess and less for a dynamic passing attack, it could result in wide receiver Brandon Smith being something of a sixth- or seventh-round hidden gem.

Smith, 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, doesn’t jump off the boards with elite-level stats, evidenced by his college career-high 37 receptions, 439 yards and five touchdowns back in 2019.

Yet the bigger-bodied frame would do Shanahan’s offense some good. True, Smith isn’t a speed threat and needs some work with his route-running abilities, largely stemming from Iowa’s underwhelming pass attack. But he has a wide catch radius, possesses physicality and could easily fill the void potentially left by Bourne heading into 2021.