Editor's note: 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco is heading to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine; check back here for his comprehensive coverage and watch SportsNet Central every night at 6 and 10:30 p.m. for the full report, only on Comcast SportsNet
Quinton Patton, who is signed through the 2016 season, is viewed within the 49ers organization as a potential starting wide receiver in the future.
When that time comes, there’s no telling who could be lining up alongside him.
After all, veteran Anquan Boldin remains unsigned after accounting for 1,179 receiving yards and seven touchdowns after being acquired in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens last offseason. If the 49ers and Boldin strike a deal this offseason, it does not figure to be for more than two years. And Michael Crabtree has one season remaining on his original six-year contract.
According to NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, this is a good year to be looking for wide receivers. And, for the 49ers, it’s a good year to be holding 12 draft picks.
[RELATED: 49ers own 11 draft picks, expect one more]
“This is the deepest and best draft class I've seen in probably 10 years,” Mayock said Tuesday on a conference call with national reporters. “That's been reinforced by most of the general managers and scouts I've talked to throughout the league. I had one GM tell me the other day that having a Top 20 pick this year is very similar to having a Top 10 pick last year.”
The 49ers’ first pick is scheduled at No. 30 overall. Certainly, the 49ers can sit back and get a good player. But they also have the flexibility to trade up to get a player they’ve targeted -- at any position -- just as they did a year ago to land LSU safety Eric Reid.
If the 49ers focus early on wide receiver, they figure to have plenty of options.
“It's the best wide receiver draft I've seen in years,” Mayock said.
Mayock ranks Sammy Watkins (Clemson), Marqise Lee (USC), Mike Evans (Texas A&M), Kelvin Benjamin (Florida State) and Jarvis Landry (LSU) as his top wide receivers in the draft, which will be held May 8-10. Landry could be available when the 49ers select, and he appears to be the kind of wide receiver the 49ers might covet.
“One of my favorite players in the draft is Jarvis Landry,” said Mayock, adding that his toughness and versatility reminds him of Hines Ward.
“Landry to me, with his toughness and ability to play inside or outside, reminds me a little bit of Hines Ward. He's one of the physically toughest players in this draft, for any position. He catches everything, he's the kind of guy I'd like to have as a teammate, so I really like him. ”
Wide receivers report to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Thursday. The group is scheduled to work out on Sunday, at which time they will be clocked in the 40-yard dash.