5 prospects 49ers would run to the podium for in 2022 NFL Draft

Arnold Ebiketie #17 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Arnold Ebiketie #17 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Christian Watson, North Dakota State Bison
National Squad wide receiver Christian Watson of North Dakota State (1) Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers hopeful No. 4: WR Christian Watson, North Dakota State

So much of what the Niners do in the NFL Draft at wide receiver will be predicated on their current situation with All-Pro Deebo Samuel, who reportedly wants out and has requested a trade amid a contract-extension dispute.

If Samuel ultimately stays, it’s a lesser point. If San Francisco elects to honor his demands, though, it’s another story.

Assuming Samuel is gone, wide receiver suddenly rockets to the very top of the 49ers’ needs list, and few have risen as rapidly as Trey Lance’s former teammate at North Dakota State, Christian Watson.

The 6-foot-4, 208-pound wideout put on a show both at the 2022 Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine, which surely led to him becoming a fringe first-round target for plenty of teams despite his relative rawness. He’ll surely be targeted as a high draft pick for his impressive 4.36 40-yard time and 136-inch broad jump despite not being the most savvy route-runner out there.

Surely not likely to be on the boards by the time the Niners are poised to pick at No. 61, they can still hope against hope Watson somehow falls.

And if Samuel is traded, whatever winds up being the return package could ultimately be used to land Watson.