Why 49ERs Won’t Go WR @ 13
I’ve been watching Mock Drafts for the last couple of weeks, and all I see is WR to the San Francisco 49ers. Specifically, the guy that keeps getting dropped to them is Jerry Jeudy. We get it! Jeudy is a phenomenal WR, but with the talent the team had last season minus one Emmanuel Sanders (move to Saints), they have a solid position group there. Niners’ GM even praised Jalen Hurd here,
When John Lynch was asked about this year’s WR draft class. He brought up Jalen Hurd, Dante Pettis, and Trent Taylor in that order.
I know I like Hurd more than most but he can be SPECIAL in this offense.#49ers pic.twitter.com/lc8Qy90uth
— John Chapman (@JL_Chapman) April 17, 2020
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network even points to Justin Jefferson as the Niners’ selection at 13. There are other needs. One of these needs is glaring. There is the elephant in the room. Is SF going to go after a flashy WR from the SEC at the expense of addressing a true need in cornerback?
This is not an article blasting Richard Sherman. While he is a bit long in the tooth, I think Sherman’s contributions to the zone he gets assigned are disciplined and make QBs think twice about throwing any pass outside of the deep ball to his side of the field. Where I believe the Niners lack is on the other side of the field.
Ahkello Witherspoon has prototypical size, but with a front-seven that is one of the strongest in football, only turning up one interception on the year is a clear red flag. Collectively as a defense, the team ranks second in the league with only 281.8 YPG allowed. However, there’s always room for improvement as the team allowed 23-TDs on the season in 2019. Witherspoon’s performance in the playoffs was underwhelming as well. With that said, the 23-year-old has only been in the league for a couple of years and could provide depth, but it’s time to look at a starter that can beef up this secondary. That starter is Florida’s CJ Henderson.
Henderson is that guy you call upon when you know there is a Tyler Lockett on the field, and you do not want to get beat. Henderson has smooth hips and the ability to shadow players around the field as if they were chained together. His long-range downfield speed is above average. With the front-seven as reliable as they are in SF, his ability to read the QB may increase the defenses turnovers.
The knock on the first-team All-SEC selection is his ability against the run. According to Jordan Reid of the Draft Network,
“When wideouts were able to get their hands inside of his chest while run blocking, Henderson struggled to disengage while attempting to get off blocks. His lack of strength was evident, and there are plays where he was forced to the sideline, which allowed rushers to secure the edge for explosive plays…physical receivers who aren’t afraid to get handsy with him could potentially have their way with Henderson during route stems and when competing during run plays.”
I’m not here to say picking Jeudy here is wrong. Of course, it’s an excellent pick, but when you have a glaring need in the secondary, and there may be a generational talent at 13, you need to make the right selection. Besides, the team is back on the clock again at No. 31 so there will be plenty of stock left at WR.