Rams Caused Major 49ers Draft Reach

New San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Ricky Pearsall was deemed to be a first-round reach by various NFL personnel.
Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Florida wide receiver Ricky Pearsall (WO23) during the 2024 NFL
Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Florida wide receiver Ricky Pearsall (WO23) during the 2024 NFL / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard not to be envious of what the Los Angeles Rams have in Puka Nacua and it looks like that forced the San Francisco 49ers into what could be a bad draft pick last month. 

San Francisco selected former Florida receiver Ricky with the 31st overall pick in the NFL Draft. And while he was a fine player in college, some experts think he wasn’t deserving of a first-round selection.

Considering that the Niners are already stacked on offense – especially at receiver – it’s easy to see how this could be a reach.

NFL Execs Think Ricky Pearsall Was a First-Round Reach

On the surface, drafting a reliable receiver like Pearsall makes sense for the Niners. Brandon Ayiuk is due to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2024 season and the team was rumored to be shopping Deebo Samuel this offseason. 

So of course they would want a young and cheap receiver to be ready to take over should one of those players not be around much longer.

But Pearsall – or a player close to his caliber – could have been available later in the draft.

"He can be a nice No. 2 or No. 3 receiver, a good player, but that was a bit of a reach, in my opinion," per NFC personnel evaluator (h/t ESPN).

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Pearsall didn’t put up eye-popping stats at Florida.

He never had a 1,000-yard season and caught just five touchdowns over 55 collegiate games. His best season came this past fall when he had 65 receptions for 965 yards and two touchdowns. 

Of course, you can chalk some of that up to inconsistent and underwhelming quarterback play for the Gators, but the lack of touchdowns is still a bit worrisome. 

He graded out as a 6.32 player at the combine this offseason, which translates into eventually becoming a plus-starter, and his 4.41 40-yard dash is tantalizing considering he’s also a good route runner.

However, his weakness – struggling against press coverage and a modest catch radius – don’t signify that he’s going to be a first-round caliber player.

"They wanted a route runner like the Rams have in Puka [Nacua]. Probably see him in that same role," an AFC exec said. 

If Pearsall underwhelms in the NFL, Rams fans can feel good about the Niners whiffing on this pick. 

More LA Rams Team News: