In an offense already flooded with playmakers, the San Francisco 49ers have still kept their eyes on whoever can add to the explosive elements in the Bay Area.
And on Thursday, March 30, the Niners were among the teams that sent a representative out to California’s Central Valley — where they watched the dynamic and versatile Jalen Moreno-Cropper put on a show at Valley Children’s Stadium at Fresno State for Pro Day.
Moreno-Cropper is best remembered for accelerating to a 4.40 40-yard dash time in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine. He also pulled off this one-handed grab in front of NFL executives and other reps in Indy:
But Moreno-Cropper continued to elevate his name in front of NFL scouts including the 49ers — who were one of 27 different NFL teams represented in the 559 for Fresno State’s Pro Day.
Moreno-Cropper Reveals if He’s Spoken to 49ers After Showing Catch-&-Run Ability
The 49ers were on hand at the university nearly three hours east to them. But has Moreno-Cropper spoken to the 49ers?
“I’ve talked to mostly everybody now,” Moreno-Cropper said to reporters after his workout, which includes the Niners. He adds every NFL talk he’s had with teams have been “very, very good conversations.”
With electric speed and a productive collegiate career, it’s easy to see the reasons Moreno-Cropper would be a red hot commodity for teams. But this time, he showed his catch-and-run ability with scouts standing on the sideline.
And, in what ended up being the final connection between he and his quarterback Jake Haener, Moreno-Cropper ended his workout with this 50-yard dime:
Outside of the 49ers, the Miami Dolphins had a scout running the 3-cone drill with Moreno-Cropper going first — keeping a close eye on the Bulldog wide receiver’s feet and change of direction in that workout. The L.A. Chargers also had a scout right behind that Dolphins rep during that drill.
Two other teams that noticeably were locked in on Moreno-Cropper were the Carolina Panthers — who had two scouts in attendance — and the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are aiming to improve their 24th ranking in passing yards from 2022.
Can Moreno-Cropper & the 49ers Become a Pairing?
If the Niners are seeking an extra return man and someone who can stretch the field offensively, Moreno-Cropper immediately fits right in.
He’s a high-tempo receiver who constantly gains the upper hand off his speed. And he’s shown to adjust his speed to make catches like this:
But here’s where Moreno-Cropper becomes a potential 49ers fit: The yards-after-catch theatrics he pulls.
He’s more proof of his YAC prowess: He’s surrounded by five defenders from Connecticut on this reception…and still turned it into an 86-yard touchdown:
And he doesn’t just come with a wide receiver and return man dynamic. He’s a former high school quarterback — and was sometimes used behind center.
Moreno-Cropper delivered a stellar career as a four-star prospect signing for the nearby university and did it by playing for a head coach who’s produced his share of NFL WRs — as Jeff Tedford is the man who once recruited and produced Keenan Allen, DeSean Jackson and Marvin Jones.
“Being able to play for coach Tedford definitely helped me grow,” Moreno-Cropper said after his Pro Day workout. “Not only as a man but as a football player. Just being able to understand the game of football, the ins and outs. I understand the preparation it takes to be the best. It’s something I’ll carry on forever.”
For the 49ers to consider him, they would have to hope he falls to day three of the draft. ESPN NFL analyst Jordan Reid, though, has Moreno-Cropper falling to No. 241 overall in the seventh round of the draft. The 49ers may have some luck getting him before that if he falls that low and if they pivot to WR in the final day of the draft.