Look, Delanie Walker is only under contract for this upcoming season. After that, there is a chance that he doesn't return. He could potentially be a starting TE on a lower tier team, but on the Niners, he will always be second fiddle to VD. For that reason, I think we pick up Fleener as insurance. He will already be a better athlete than Walker, and at 6'6" with terrific hands, he is a mismatch nightmare, especially in the red zone, but has game breaking ability from anywhere on the field, just like VD, Gronk, Graham, etc.
And Harbaugh loves running TE heavy formations, so the depth is nice as well. And if Walker leaves next season or there's an injury, we still have the ability to run double TE sets, but with the explosiveness of New England's TE duo. Let's say we pick up Lloyd as a FA WR. In spread formations, we have Moss, Crabtree, Lloyd, VD, Fleener, and Gore all on the field...who do you cover?
Also, Fleener is a better value at #30 than Hill. Hill jumped 2-3 rounds based on combine stats? Seems like someone Al Davis would pick. The draft is deep at receiver this season, so why waste #30 on one when Fleener is the better value? We'd be reaching for a player and that doesn't seem like Baalke's MO. Fleener already has a relationship with Harbaugh, is a receiving threat as well, and provides us insurance for years to come. We can grab a receiver anywhere in the 2nd to 4th rounds to add to the WR depth since the draft is deep at the position.
If he is on the board at #30, I'll be shocked if we don't take him.
Also, this is kind of a different topic, but it's related. I feel like the differences in peoples' opinion on who to take, Hill or Fleener, is a difference in how people think JH is going to run his offense. We haven't had a true #1 WR since TO left, and I feel like the people who want Hill, are of the mindset that a team needs a hierarchy of receivers, and as a result, we need to draft one since there weren't any in FA other than Vincent Jackson.
However, I feel like the people who want Fleener, sort of understand that JH wants to run a system based on solid playmaking from across the board. Look at Green Bay, New Orleans, and New England. None of those teams really have a true #1 WR, sure there may be players that are better than others on the team, but for the most part, Brees, Rodgers, and Brady can pick and choose their targets and have the confidence that whoever they are throwing the ball to, will make a play. They are solid from top to bottom with guys who can make plays. I don't think we need a #1 game breaking WR. Why would we when the defense knows that every single guy on the field is a threat to score on any given play?
[ Edited by Alkasquawlik on Mar 15, 2012 at 17:56:16 ]