With its third selection, San Francisco continued to bolster its passing attack with another physical, hard-charging wide receiver.
The 49ers selected Baylor's Jalen Hurd with the No. 67 overall pick of the draft Friday, the third pick of the third round.
The pick was announced by former 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens.
Here's the full breakdown on Hurd:
Position: Wide receiver
Selection: Third round (No. 67 overall)
Hurd began his career at Tennessee as a running back. He led Tennessee in rushing as a true freshman, gaining 899 yards and five touchdowns on 190 rushing attempts. He was second-team All-SEC as a sophomore after gaining 1,288 yards and 12 touchdowns.
As a junior, he asked to switch positions to receiver to endure less punishment on his body. He ended up transferring to Baylor, where last season he caught 69 passes for 946 yards and four touchdowns.
“He's still learning the nuances of the position, but he has outstanding traits, a great work ethic and an ability to get much better very quickly,” analyst Lance Zierlein wrote in his scouting report on NFL.com. “While Hurd will be an NFL receiver, he offers a unique option of becoming a short-yardage banger near the goal line. His best days are in front of him.”
He has vast potential to improve as a route-runner because he is so new to the position.
Hurd provides 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with a big target in the red zone. The 49ers struggled mightily in the red zone, and Hurd gives them a basketball player’s body to win on contested passes. But coach Kyle Shanahan likes Hurd because of the potential he sees as a route-runner to be a legitimate threat anywhere on the field.
In fact, Shanahan sees Hurd as more than just a wide receiver. Hurd can line up in the backfield or just about anywhere in the formation. The 49ers want Hurd to get to his ideal playing weight, and Shanahan will find places to use him in the offense.
The addition of Hurd, along with second-round pick Deebo Samuel, means it is going to be strong competition to earn a roster spot. Hurd and Samuel join a wide receiver group that also includes Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor, Jordan Matthews and Richie James.
What they’re saying
“He can do about everything. I think if he’d stayed at running back, I think he would’ve gotten drafted an as NFL running back. Today, he got drafted as a receiver, kind of. I believe if he tried to play tight end, he would’ve gotten drafted as an NFL tight end. That’s a pretty unique thing to have. I don’t know that I can say that about any player I’ve studied before” – 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan on Hurd's versatility.
“When you do have a certain size to you and you have very good hands, you don’t have to be as open as other people are. But we like people who can do both. He’s played wide receiver for one year. He has the ability to continue to get more separation skills. But he can cut, and especially with his size and hands, he’s good enough to go out there and beat nickel backs and corners” – Shanahan on Hurd's room to improve his receiver skills.
“I think it’s the details in route-running, my hand. I had some huge drops last season, but not too many. Hands are pretty much there. I think my biggest thing is route-running and the details in the route in the 49ers offense” -- Hurd on what he needs to improve on as a receiver.
“These were the targets, and it worked out so we’re extremely excited about that," -- 49ers GM John Lynch on adding Samuel and Hurd in the second and third rounds.