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The San Francisco 49ers had a problem finding consistency in the return game last year. Even without injuries, the productivity in the punt and kick return games were lacking. The 49ers could look to shore up that area by taking it into account when looking at NFL draft prospects.
One of the top return prospects, Stanford’s Connor Wedington told the Draft Wire’s Justin Melo that he had a phone conversation with the 49ers ahead of the 2021 draft.
Wedington spent four year with the Cardinal filling a variety of roles from running back to wide receiver to kick and punt returner. His productivity was never elite, but the distribution of it is intriguing.
His best season on offense came in his third year when he caught 51 passes for 506 yards and a touchdown. In his four seasons he hauled in 106 catches for 971 yards and the lone score from his junior year.
Wedington was used sparingly as a runner, but had success when he did notch carries, racking up 87 yards on just six attempts.
Stanford never deployed him as a returner until his third year. His first two seasons he returned no kicks and notched three punt returns for a combined 22 yards. He broke out when slotted in as the full-time kick returner though as a junior. Wedington averaged 28.1 yards per return on 21 tries in 2019, and backed it up with 23.8 yards per return on four attempts last season.
The sporadic production and lack of top-end numbers could push Wedington off the draft board, but the 49ers have had a ton of success with undrafted free agents. If the Stanford product can provide special teams value, it’s easy to see why San Francisco would be interested.