The San Francisco 49ers have doubled down on wide receiver. They selected Baylor wide receiver Jalen Hurd with the No. 67 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. I can’t say many of us saw this coming, but Hurd is a much different receiver than Deebo Samuel. Hurd is primarily a slot wide receiver, despite his 6-foot-5, 226 pound frame. He was also a former running back at the University of Tennessee.
A senior out of Baylor, Hurd stands 6 feet, four inches, and weighs 229 pounds. He has experience playing running back before wide receiver and that experience has some nice video of shrugging tackles like he just came through the offensive line. His time in the position does pose questions about the conversion to wide receiver but that seems to be a moot point. Knowing Kyle Shanahan, that running back experience may make Hurd be plugged in at the position for some mismatches as well.
The thing with Hurd is his ceiling. He has all the physical tools necessary to be an elite wide receiver in this league. He has long arms, good hands, and a daredevil mentality at catching balls when in a circus. At the same time, he does need development. Hurd’s route running is what will need work, and in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, success in that trait is paramount. Despite him also being a running back at one point, Hurd’s blocking will need significant work as well if he’s going to be on the field for stretches at at time.
The 49ers are going to have some decisions to make at wide receiver. They have Trent Taylor coming back from a back injury as well as Marquise Goodwin’s inconsistent health issues. They drafted Richie James and Dante Pettis in 2018 and signed Kendrick Bourne as an undrafted free agent in 2017. There’s also the recent acquisition of Jordan Matthews. They have Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd from 2019. That’s A LOT of people to feed and some tough cuts are going to be coming during training camp as the 49ers figure out what to do with this wide receiver unit going forward.