NFL Mock Draft 2012: Dwight Jones, 49ers And The Wide Receiver Need

SB Nation released their latest 2012 NFL Mock Draft yesterday and for the second consecutive week, they have the 49ers selecting North Carolina wide receiver Dwight Jones. The 49ers offense has been up and down in 2011 and the common refrain among draft prognosticators is that the 49ers need to invest in some wide receiver help.

As the roster currently stands, the 49ers wide receiver corps features Michael Crabtree, Ted Ginn Jr., Kyle Williams, Brett Swain and Joe Hastings. The 49ers have Joshua Morgan on injured reserve, and while he is a free agent after this season, there has been verbalized interest from both sides about his potential return.

The 49ers added Braylon Edwards in the offseason, and early in the season it seemed like a great idea. Edwards brought size that none of the other 49ers receivers have. The 49ers other receivers are all talented, but none could bring the needed size to get physical in a jump ball or provide a consistent target on end zone fade routes. Unfortunately, Edwards struggled through a variety of injuries and was ineffective down the stretch before being released.

It would be not be surprising to see the 49ers go for a wide receiver early, particularly given that they are building the team in a manner that is conducive to best player available. Jones is a guy who is all over the place on draft boards and will look to use the coming three month draft process to establish himself as a first round talent. He improved on all his numbers in 2011, most notably his touchdown total, boosting it from four to twelve.

The 49ers could use another red zone threat to help boost their consistency down inside the opponent's 20. Jones brings great size to be that guy, but also brings enough speed and athleticism to be a solid every down receiver.

There remain some questions about his route-running, consistency and some of his off-the-field activities, but there is a lot of talent. Even if it will take some time to smooth off the rough edges, the 49ers are in a position to find a guy who can do a few things quite well already and take their time rounding him into shape as an overall threat.

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