Programming note: 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco is on the ground in Indianapolis to cover the NFL Combine. Check back for his coverage all weekend and get the full report on SportsNet Central every night at 6 and 10:30 p.m.
INDIANAPOLIS – The 49ers have invested picks to select a wide receiver within the first three rounds just twice in the past five drafts.
In 2009, the 49ers selected Michael Crabtree with the 10th overall pick. In 2012, they chose A.J. Jenkins at No. 30.
On Friday, CSNBayArea.com asked 49ers general manager Trent Baalke about the 49ers’ track record of selecting and developing young wide receivers. After all, the 49ers have chosen at least one wide receiver in each of the past 11 drafts. And they figure to select another this year.
“First of all, you have to look at how many we’ve actually drafted,” Baalke said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “What is that number of players we’ve drafted at that position? And it hasn’t been a high count.
“So we always go back to the A.J. Jenkins pick. Disappointed. Obviously. And that’s on me. That’s on nobody else.”
Baalke came to the 49ers as West Region scout in 2005. During that time, the 49ers selected Oregon’s Marcus Maxwell in the seventh round and Washington State’s Jason Hill in the third. Neither player earned a role with the 49ers.
In 2008 and ’09 with Baalke in the role of 49ers director of player personnel, the club selected Josh Morgan in the sixth round of 2008 and Crabtree in the first round the following year.
With Baalke running the 49ers’ drafts since 2010, the club spent sixth-round picks on Kyle Williams and Ronald Johnson, a first-round pick on Jenkins, and a fourth-rounder last year on Quinton Patton. Neither Johnson nor Jenkins caught a pass with the 49ers. And only Patton remains with the organization.
Patton sustained a fractured hand in training camp of his rookie season. Then, a broken foot limited him to just six regular-season games. Patton caught three passes for 34 yards.
“We’re very high on Quinton Patton,” Baalke said. “We think Quinton is going to be a fine football player.
“I think you saw toward the end of the year he already started to make a leap. And we’ve always maintained the most growth that takes places is between Year 1 and Year 2. And we’ll expect that to happen in Quinton’s case.”