Wide receiver is not the most pressing need for the San Francisco 49ers come April 28. Not with Brandon Aiyuk coming off his first 1,000-yard season, or Deebo Samuel creating mismatches at wideout.
But it’s still considered a need as noted by insider Matt Barrows of The Athletic on Monday, February 20.
After Barrows projected defensive tackle Adetomia Adebawore of Northwestern at the 99th spot for the 49ers in his newest mock draft, he has the Niners pivoting to offense at their next spot of No. 101 and taking a wideout described as “Samuel-like” for the 49ers: Jonathan Mingo of Ole Miss.
“He’s not as violent a runner as Deebo Samuel, but at a Samuel-like 225 pounds, he’s tough to bring down,” Barrows wrote. “Mingo caught 51 passes for 861 yards and five touchdowns in 2022.”
Here’s why Barrows believes that Mingo, who played in the same conference Samuel experienced in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), can fit the 49ers.
“Most of the damage came on quick throws down the sideline that allowed Mingo to use his yards-after-catch skills and on the sort of intermediate crossers that are such an integral part of Kyle Shanahan’s offense,” Barrows said.
Which led Barrows to say “That is, he’s a good fit.”
Mingo also landed on The Athletic’s 30 prospect big board for the 49ers — named as the first option for WR if S.F. decides to draft one.
“You might consider Mingo a cross between Samuel and Jennings. He doesn’t have Samuel’s explosion, but he has good size — 6-2, 226 pounds — and balance, and that makes him hard to bring down,” they wrote.
Mingo Following Lineage of Past Rebel Great Wideouts
Oxford, Mississippi has become a wide receiver hot bed.
The 49ers already have to game plan for Pro Bowler D.K. Metcalf, who spent 2016 to 2018 with Ole Miss and scored 14 career touchdowns there while averaging nearly 22 yards a catch his final season. NFC champion wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles A.J. Brown also had his stop in Oxford — becoming a back-to-back 1,000-yard receiver during the time he was Metcalf’s college teammate and scored 19 career touchdowns.
Then along came Elijah Moore from 2018 to 2020 who became the next 1,000-yard WR for the Rebs…and was teammates with Mingo.
The physical Mingo became the latest to keep the lineage going — by reaching past the double-digit career touchdown mark with 12 while also averaging 15.7 yards per catch in his Ole Miss career. However, he was slowed by a broken foot in 2021. He went on to return in 2022 and bettered his marks in all three major receiving categories.
Now, his stock is climbing following an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl with his route running.
How High can Mingo Really go?
Mingo could keep this rare trend going for Ole Miss: Wide receivers taken in the second round — as Metcalf, Brown and Moore were all day two picks taken as second rounders. But does Mingo have second round talent and value?
His physical tools made him a top 75 prospect by Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network — meaning he may not fall to No. 101 to the 49ers. However, he’s in a deep WR class with names like Quentin Johnson of Texas Christian, Jordan Addison of USC, Jaxson Smith-Njigba of Ohio State and Zay Flowers of Boston College all projected to go in the first round by Nate Davis of USA Today on Monday.
But there’s also Kayshon Boutte of LSU, Tyler Scott of Cincinnati, Marvin Mims of Oklahoma, Cedric Tillman of Tennessee, Jayden Reed of Michigan State and Michael Wilson of Stanford projected to go higher than Mingo by Chad Reuter of nfl.com — with all of them going before No. 98.
Mingo, again, represents a position that isn’t considered the biggest need for S.F. However, he would be a hard guy to pass up if available at No. 101 — especially with the thoughts of pairing him with another physical wideout in Samuel.