Round 5, Pick No. 172 Overall: 49ers select WR Jalen Nailor, Michigan State
For now, All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel is still very much on San Francisco’s roster, and let’s go ahead and assume it stays that way despite his recent trade request amid what’s likely still a hefty contract dispute.
Even with Samuel, though, the 49ers could afford to infuse some talent on the back end of the receiving depth chart, particularly finding a field-stretching option to assist quarterback Trey Lance. With Samuel and fellow receiver Brandon Aiyuk likely to receive the lion’s share of targets in 2022, someone who can pull defensive backs well down the field and open up opportunities underneath is something Kyle Shanahan should explore.
At 5-foot-11 and 186 pounds, Michigan State wide receiver Jalen Nailor might have difficulty against press coverage and will struggle against bigger-bodied defensive backs.
But the former track star didn’t earn the nickname “Speedy” without reason, and his play speed is more than adequate to help stretch the field.
|*2018||Michigan State||Big Ten||FR||WR||6||8||138||17.3||2||9||128||14.2||1||17||266||15.6||3|
|*2019||Michigan State||Big Ten||SO||WR||4||15||106||7.1||0||5||27||5.4||0||20||133||6.7||0|
|2020||Michigan State||Big Ten||SO||WR||7||26||515||19.8||4||2||11||5.5||0||28||526||18.8||4|
|*2021||Michigan State||Big Ten||JR||WR||9||37||695||18.8||6||1||-3||-3.0||0||38||692||18.2||6|
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
Nailor has dealt with some injuries thus far, and that’d be a concern. But the Niners would be using him as more of a gadget weapon than anything else, limiting his field time and trying to maximize what potential he has to fully round out the offense.