With six of the first 100 picks in the draft, the 49ers are in a position to do almost anything.
Some recent reports suggest that the Niners would be smart to trade some of their draft bounty to secure a second first-round pick, and that makes sense. With a deep team, after all, it’s going to be hard for rookies to make the team’s opening-day roster, and quality will be more important than quantity.
But on the other hand, the 49ers could stay put, use their 30th choice in the first round on a cornerback and take a wide receiver (or two) in later rounds that they believe can make an impact and give quarterback Colin Kaepernick more chances to complete more passes deep downfield.
Lately, one name that has slipped into the conversation is that of Cody Latimer, a wideout for the Indiana Hoosiers.
San Francisco is reported to have sent receivers coach John Morton to a workout by Latimer at Indiana on Friday. Latimer, largely overlooked at the beginning of the draft evaluation process, has been climbing up the prospect ladder, reported Doug Farrar of Sports Illustrated.
Farrar reported Latimer – who had a foot injury at the time and could not do running drills at the NFL Combine – originally was thought to be a low-round pick, but now has advanced to as high as a second-round prospect – a round in which the 49ers have two selections.
Latimer is a big-body receiver (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) who ran a better-than-expected 4.44 40-yard dash at his pro day in late March,, reported Farrar. Also, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reported that Latimer led all wide receivers in the bench press, doing 23 reps of 225 pounds and had a vertical leap of 39 inches. In other words, Latimer has the size, strength and leaping ability to battle for contested balls – a weakness of former first-rounder A.J. Jenkins, who eventually was traded away by the 49ers.
Though Latimer produced well at Indiana – 135 catches for 2,042 yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons – the Hoosiers didn’t have great talent at quarterback, and Latimer didn’t grab much media attention.
Barrows wrote Latimer is a receiver who could be very intriguing to the 49ers because of his “rugged, physical style.”
“(The 49ers) traditionally have preferred big-bodied receivers in their power-running, ball-control offense,” he wrote.
The question is, would Latimer provide a new dimension to the San Francisco passing game? The Niners, after all, are reportedly interested in getting a deep-threat receiver who can stretch defenses and open up underneath routes.
The scouting report on Latimer from NFL.com, lauds Latimer’s size, hands, “catch radius” and blocking ability. But the same report says he has an “average burst off the line” and is not a “quick-twitch athlete” who “could struggle to shake loose from more athletic corners.”
Sports Illustrated’s Farrar, however, compares him to Keenan Allen, the former Cal receiver who had an outstanding rookie season with the Chargers in 2013.
“Like Allen, Latimer doesn’t explode off the tape with demon speed – instead he gets open and makes palys with toughness, route awareness and field intelligence,” Farrar wrote. “I believe he will be an ideal No. 2 receiver in just about any NFL system.”