NFL Combine
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Day 2 is the sweet spot for wide receivers in what’s perceived to be a “historic” class.

This year’s wide receiver class in the NFL Draft has jumped the shark. It’s considerably deep, with perhaps dozens of prospects who will contribute in Year 1. But every other year, you’ll hear pundits say, “This is the greatest class of all time!”

Hyperbole aside, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan drafts a wide receiver every year other than 2021. Last year, he waited until the seventh round to select Ronnie Bell. A late-round receiver is an outlier. Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and Danny Gray — not to mention Dante Pettis — were all drafted in the first three rounds.

In this year’s draft, it’s a matter of when, not if, the 49ers will draft a wide receiver. While there’s still ample time to reach an extension with Jauan Jennings, he’s currently on a one-year deal. It’s a critical season for Deebo Samuel, as the 49ers have a potential out after the 2024 season. As for Aiyuk, historically, under Shanahan, record-setting extensions happen around training camp.

ESPN’s Nick Wagoner listed wide receiver as one of the top three needs for the Niners. Draft analyst Matt Miller gave the team a wideout on Day 2:

Prospect to fill a need outside Round 1: Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington. The 6-foot-2 Polk had 69 catches for 1,159 yards and nine touchdowns last season, and he is a dynamic player both attacking the ball in the air and making plays after the catch. — Miller

Polk is cut from the same cloth as former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd — who the 49ers had interest in during free agency. He’s a lengthy, wiry slot receiver who will win more than he loses 1-on-1 because he can play through contact.

Polk is projected to go anywhere from the middle of the second to the end of the third round. The 49ers own pick No. 63 and No. 94. When you look at most wide receiver rankings or “big boards,” the 49ers should be in a prime position to add another weapon on Day 2 of the draft for Brock Purdy. As many as 17 receivers are in the top 100 of some draft guides.

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