The 49ers find themselves at a much different place around this time than one year ago. General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan came to the NFL Scouting Combine with the No. 2 pick in the draft and plenty of glaring holes last year.
After going from 4-12 to having a double-digit lead in the Super Bowl one season later, the 49ers arrived at this year's combine coming off heartbreak but with plenty of reasons for optimism. They're a team without many needs, though there still are question marks that need answers.
Lynch reiterated Tuesday how much he believes in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. But getting the QB more weapons on the outside must happen for this team to take another step forward and continue to be a contender. Despite having a low first-round pick at No. 31 overall, this is the perfect year for San Francisco to target a receiver in the draft.
[RELATED: Updated NFL mock draft before combine]
This year's draft class is stacked with stud receivers. Playmakers can be picked out of a hat. With that being said, here are five receivers the 49ers should watch during the combine.
Once the 49ers make their first-round selection, they currently don't own a pick again until the fifth round. Each player below could be an option with their first-round pick or if they trade back.
Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
It's time to steal a dad joke. Aiyuk is the king of YAC (yards after catch), so he's now officially Brandon AiYAC. Hold your applause.
More like Brandon AiYAC tbh pic.twitter.com/SC6lHnADxz— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) February 25, 2020
On a more serious note, Aiyuk averaged a ridiculous 18.3 yards per reception as a senior at Arizona State. He caught 65 passes for 1,1192 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. And he can absolutely fly.
Aiyuk measured in at just under 6-feet but has an eye-opening 80-inch wingspan. That's a freaky build that can translate to a wild catch radius. While he's a former junior college player and needs some polish, Aiyuk would terrify teams in Shanahan's offense.
Justin Jefferson, LSU
Jefferson dominated in the Tigers' historic offense as a junior. He hauled in an NCAA Division I-best 111 passes for 1,540 passes and 18 touchdowns. Jefferson also already has talked with the 49ers.
On Tuesday, Jefferson said he and the 49ers had an "informal meeting." Jefferson can line up inside or outside, but he really broke out last season when LSU began using him out of the slot.
(#LSU) Justin Jefferson shows his open field ability against arguably the top Safety in this draft Class...— Josh Lemoine (@LSUTruth) February 25, 2020
Jefferson has the opportunity to make some serious cash with his Combine Performance. He absolutely has the film to back his combine numbers.
Speaking of catch radius, Jefferson's is at the top of the class. Throw it up and he'll go get it. That's what makes him really intriguing. He can make plays in the open field out of the slot like the clip above, and he can snatch a TD at its highest point.
Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado
Shanahan would have tons of fun with Shenault in his offense. At 6-1 and 227 pounds, the former Colorado Buffalo is a physical freak. A strong combine could really have him rise up the rankings.
Between his sophomore and junior seasons, Shenault scored 17 touchdowns -- 10 receiving and seven rushing. He's versatile and can be used all over the field, whether on the outside, inside or even out of the backfield.
Taking a deeper dive into Colorado WR Laviska Shenault tonight. I think I’m in love.— Alex Johnson (@a_johnsonFF) February 23, 2020
Versatile weapon that dominates with size, strength, and speed.
Upper % Dominator with age 19 (sophomore) breakout.
Should be a late day one, early day two pick. pic.twitter.com/9PUwZok9t8
Shenault's red flag is an injury history to his labrum, toe and groin. If he's healthy, though, the athleticism is too good to ignore.
Jalen Reagor, TCU
Reagor also met with the 49ers on Tuesday and compared himself to Deebo Samuel. For good reason, too.
Coming in at 5-11 and 206 pounds, Reagor is built similarly to Samuel. He also has the joystick capabilities and versatility of Samuel. Reagor scored 24 total touchdowns -- 22 receiving, two rushing -- at TCU and averaged 21 yards per punt return as a junior.
Oh, and he's fast. Really, really fast.
Reagor could be a healthy Percy Harvin. Do his ball skills translate to his athleticism? That's the big question.
Michael Pittman Jr., USC
Pittman is quite different than many of the previously mentioned receivers. He isn't a burner and likely won't have a great 40-yard dash time. As far as polish and football IQ go, not many are in the same boat as Pittman.
Though the 49ers hope to get a healthy Jalen Hurd next season, the 49ers still need a big-body receiver. Pittman is 6-4, 223 and catches everything thrown his way.
PAC12 Sleeper WR Michael Pittman Jr (USC, 6’ 4”, 220 lbs). Following in his father’s footsteps. Stats: (41 games) 171 Receptions, 2519 Rec Yards, 14.7 Avg, 19 TD, 1 Rush for 9 Yards, 6 PR, 156 PR Yards, 26.0 Avg, 1 TD, 5 KR, 31 KR Yards, 6.2 Avg. #MichaelPittmanJr #4EDraft2020 pic.twitter.com/yhc2rom6iC— 49er_Edits (@49er_edits) February 21, 2020
Bet on Pittman. He was highly productive at USC while dealing with multiple QBs. Pittman also was one of the biggest standouts at the Senior Bowl.
Should the 49ers trade back out of the first round, this could be their guy.