49ers NFL Draft: 3 prospects who can replace Kendrick Bourne

USC Trojans wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (8) Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
USC Trojans wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (8) Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 4
Kendrick Bourne, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers have a not-so-subtle need at wide receiver with Kendrick Bourne leaving in free agency, and these three NFL Draft prospects could fill the void.

The overwhelming majority of talk surrounding what the San Francisco 49ers will do in the 2021 NFL Draft has focused on Round 1, specifically the No. 3 overall pick with which the Niners are all but guaranteed to grab a quarterback.

Important, yes. The trade up from No. 12 overall is a potential franchise-changing move. And the first-round targets and selections wind up garnering the bulk of the attention anyway.

Not too far behind the desire to land a franchise quarterback is head coach Kyle Shanahan’s need to reinforce the wide receiver room. Behind the likely two starters in 2021, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, Shanahan and the Niners will need to make up for the offseason free-agent loss of wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, who left on a new deal with the New England Patriots.

Bourne, the 2017 undrafted free agent, has consistently been the No. 3 option on the depth chart, regularly part of Shanahan’s top-three trusted receivers over the last two years. In 2020, Bourne’s 667 receiving yards ranked second on San Francisco’s offense behind only Aiyuk, and the former Eastern Washington product was also a frequent red-zone target and a reliable possession receiver on third downs.

Armed with nine picks in this year’s NFL Draft, the 49ers will have no shortage of chances to find Bourne’s replacement within a deep class of prospective wide receivers. And while Shanahan doesn’t necessarily have to find a replica of Bourne in this year’s draft, these three potential wide receivers could wind up being cut from a similar cloth and skill set.