SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The last time the 49ers had the 30th pick in the draft they took a wide receiver, A.J. Jenkins, who played in only three games and failed to make a catch before being traded before the 2013 season.
But if there's reason for the 49ers to dive back into the wide-receiver draft pool, it's this: Unlike in 2012, when San Francisco selected Jenkins, this year's draft class is widely considered the most talent-laden in recent memory and is particularly deep at positions where the 49ers have the greatest needs: wide receiver and cornerback.
"From my perspective, this is the best and deepest draft I've seen in probably 10 years," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said Tuesday in advance of the scouting combine, which begins this week in Indianapolis. "That's been reinforced by the general managers and scouts that I've talked to around the league. I had one GM tell me that a top-20 pick this year is very similar to having a top-10 pick last year."
NFL Films' Greg Cosell said the draft's top wide receiver, Clemson's Sammy Watkins, is the best prospect at his position since 2011 when A.J. Green and Julio Jones were drafted fourth and sixth overall, respectively.
With 12 picks, the 49ers certainly have enough ammunition to trade ahead in the first round to nab someone like Watkins, just as the Atlanta Falcons did when they drafted Jones three years ago.
But unlike that draft, this one has value throughout.
If the 49ers are looking for a big, physical wideout who can contend with the Seahawks' aggressive defensive backs, they might look at two 6-foot-5 prospects, Texas A&M's Mike Evans or Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin.
Cosell differed with other draft evaluators in placing Benjamin slightly ahead of Evans.