The 2012 NFL Draft is approaching, and the talk regarding the 49ers still remains on bringing in an offensive target for quarterback Alex Smith. The boggling question on everyone's minds is which one.
Stanford Cardinal tight end Coby Fleener has been hoarding most of the draft-based headlines in connection with the 49ers. A lot of commentators and fans love that he flourished with Jim Harbaugh in the NCAA; he's smart, a playmaker, a physical freak and a big-time performer.
The comparisons to Rob Gronkowski also don't hurt his draft stock too much. But there are other more logical options outside of adding Fleener.
Mel Kiper Jr. has clearly stated on several occasions that he foresees the 49ers selecting Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill with the No. 30 overall pick in the draft. His name has been stuck to the Niners because of his projected draft worth, as well as filling a need.
But the 49ers could take yet another route that would fit the Bill Walsh mold of draft philosophy, and that would be trading up in the first to acquire a wide receiver.
It was reported that Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd will visit with the San Francisco 49ers next week. Harbaugh and Co. are aware of Floyd's draft status, and that he would likely be selected well before No. 30, but that might not matter to them if they find what they're looking for.
The 49ers can afford to do this because they don't have a lot of glaring needs outside of fixing the offensive attack. Floyd could be the long-term solution that Randy Moss will not be. At 6'3, 220 pounds, Floyd is the prototypical receiver the Niners need going down the road. They want to situate the receiver situation for the next half-decade at least.
Fleener would be the second tight end, when San Francisco doesn't have a premier wide receiver for the long haul. To be aggressive in going after Floyd wouldn't be the biggest draft shocker likely to take place at the end of April.
Since the Chicago Bears traded with the Miami Dolphins for Brandon Marshall, they now have a No. 1 receiver. They also have other holes to fill, are out a third-round pick and someone like Janoris Jenkins could be there for them at No. 30. The 49ers could very well trade from their spot up to No. 19 to take Floyd.
If Chicago wasn't willing to make a deal, they still could select someone else. And the 49ers could proceed in talks with either Cincinnati or Cleveland at No.'s 21 and 22. Both the Bengals and Browns have two first-round draft picks and could be flexible in what they do. San Francisco could package something reasonable to move up and fix the No. 1 receiver position in the Bay.
Floyd has great speed, having ran a 4.47 40-yard dash for scouts at the NFL Combine, and accumulated 2,131 yards on 174 catches and 20 touchdowns in his final two collegiate seasons. In that time, he averaged 12.2 yards per catch even when teams knew he was getting the ball. He can move the chains as well as stretch the field. With the 49ers, he can become the complete receiving threat at wide out San Francisco needs.
It's been quite some time since the Niners have had a 1,000-yard receiver, and this is a team that is teetering on dynasty status if they get a few things sorted. The bottom line is, Floyd's upside for the 49ers outweighs Fleener's potential upside, and is therefore worth the risk if they feel good enough about him.