The San Francisco 49ers' loss to the New York Giants in the NFC title game exposed a major weakness. Their wide receivers were not able to get open against the tough man-to-man coverage the Giants utilized. The Giants focused on stopping Vernon Davis and that caused the 49ers offense to sputter.
At this stage, Vincent Jackson is the top wide receiver available that would not cost the 49ers a draft pick. Some of the other top wide receivers, such as Dwayne Bowe, DeSean Jackson and Mike Wallace, would cost the 49ers draft picks, in addition to the money spent to sign them.
With Bills' receiver Stevie Johnson remaining in Buffalo and Wes Welker undoubtedly staying with the Patriots, that leaves Jackson as the 49ers' best option to immediately bolster their weak wide receiver position.
Jackson would be the 49ers' No. 1, go-to wide receiver. His presence would also move Michael Crabtree to the No. 2 receiver, which is much more suited to his ability.
Jackson has tremendous speed and can get open deep. While the deep pass is not Alex Smith's strength, Jackson's mere presence would open up the short to medium routes for Crabtree, Davis and the other 49er pass-catchers.
In 2011, Jackson caught 60 passes for 1,106 yards and nine touchdowns. His 18.4 yards-per-catch is over six yards per catch above Michael Crabtree.
The 49ers would be well-served to re-sign Josh Morgan and use him as as a third receiver. They could then select a young wide receiver in the third or fourth round of the draft, who they can develop.
There are those that question whether Jackson can be a team player, based on some of the diva-oriented problems he had in San Diego. I think 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh will be able to keep Jackson focused and productive.
Harbaugh was able to keep Michael Crabtree away from his prima-donna, look at me, histrionics. Based on that near miracle, I think he'll have no problems working with Jackson.
If the 49ers are unable to acquire Jackson, that leaves Marques Colston, Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon as the next top set of available receivers that would not cost the Niners a draft pick. Jackson is a better, more dynamic player than any of these other top receivers.
Signing Jackson, then using their Round 1 draft pick to select Coby Fleener, or a top cornerback, would be an ideal move for the 49ers. In addition, Jackson is only 29 years of age and has plenty of great football left in him.
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