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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

49ers make Arizona WR Jacob Cowing a 4th-round draft pick

Apr 27, 2024 at 10:51 AM

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The San Francisco 49ers selected Arizona wide receiver Jacob Cowing with the 35th pick (No. 135 overall) in the fourth round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

RELATED 5 things to know about 49ers fourth-round pick WR Jacob Cowing

College Statistics:
Cowing registered 90 receptions for 848 yards and 13 touchdowns through 13 game appearances as a senior in 2023, per Sports Reference. Throughout his collegiate career, he caught 316 passes for 4,477 yards with 33 touchdowns over five seasons.

Statistical Rundown
Year School Class G Rec Yds Avg TD
2019 UTEP FR 12 31 550 17.7 3
2020 UTEP SO 8 41 691 16.9 3
2021 UTEP SO 13 69 1,354 19.6 7
2022 Arizona JR 12 85 1,034 12.2 7
2023 Arizona SR 13 90 848 9.4 13
Total 316 4,477 14.2 33

Lance Zierlein's scouting report:
The tape can be a fun watch when Cowing's field vision and athleticism shine after the catch in Arizona's quick game, but there are several boxes that go unchecked in the total evaluation. Cowing is a slightly built slot receiver who is more quick than he is fast and he lacks big-time separation. He is made for option routes underneath and displays a nose for the end zone. He must learn to maintain additional space as a static pass-catcher because he won't win very often when contested. Cowing needs to limit drops, improve as a route-runner and display some punt-return talent to give himself the best chance of sticking on an NFL roster for a while. Draft Bio:
  • 2019 (UTEP): Led the team with 550 receiving yards (31 receptions, 17.7 per), 3 receiving TDs. Played in 12 games with 7 starts.
  • 2020 (UTEP): Second-team All-Conference USA. Led the team with 41 receptions, 691 receiving yards (16.9 per), 3 receiving TDs. Started 8 games.
  • 2021 (UTEP): First-team All-Conference USA. Ranked ninth in the FBS with 1,354 receiving yards (69 receptions, 19.6 per, 7 TDs). Started all 13 games (4-75-18.8, TD rushing).
  • 2022: Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 Conference. Led the team with 85 receptions (1,034 yards, 12.2 per, 7 TDs). Started 12 games.
  • 2023: Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 Conference. Led team with a school-record 13 receiving TDs. Tied for the team lead with 90 receptions (848 yards, 9.4 per). Played in all 13 games with 12 starts. Caught at least 1 pass in his final 57 games.
  • Son Chase is named after former Arizona State cornerback Chase Lucas.

Pre-Draft Grade:
Cowing earned a pre-draft grade of 6 from, which equates to an "above-average backup," per the site's 8-point grading scale.

Projection: projected Cowing to be a fourth-round draft pick.

NFL Scouting Combine:
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Cowing posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds, a vertical jump of 36 inches, a broad jump of 9 feet, 11 inches, a 7.02-second three-cone drill time, and a 20-yard shuttle time of 4.32 seconds.

Cowing is 5' 8 3/8" and 168 pounds. Additionally, he boasts an arm length of 29 1/4 inches and hands measuring 9 inches.

Maricopa, AZ

Pro Football Focus Draft Profile:
Cowing has played a lot of football in his college career with over 3,000 snaps in his five-year college career. He has been a big volume receiver at UTEP and Arizona. His threat rate has not been below 25% for any season, and he had two seasons above 30%, showcasing how much both offenses wanted to get him the ball. He will truly be an outlier in his size — likely be below the fifth percentile in both height and weight— but the bottom line is he can win at the position.

Pro Football Focus Big Board:
Cowing ranks 117th on Pro Football Focus' big board.

Pro Football Focus Grading:
Cowing earned an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 75.2 in 2023.

NFL Draft Buzz Summary:
Jacob Cowing's transition to the NFL presents an intriguing blend of challenges and opportunities. His electric quickness, elite route-running ability, and knack for finding the endzone underscore a playmaking potential that's hard to ignore. Cowing's agility and skill in after-the-catch situations make him a prime candidate for slot duties, where his speed can be a game-changer. However, his smaller stature and struggles against press coverage signal a need for a tailored offensive scheme that can maximize his strengths and minimize exposure to physical mismatches. Despite his size, Cowing's willingness to engage in blocks and contest catches in traffic speaks to his competitive spirit. Yet, concerns around his play strength and ability to secure catches under pressure pose questions about his durability and consistency at the pro level. Teams will need to weigh his explosive playmaking against the limitations his physical profile presents, particularly in tight, contested situations. For Cowing, success in the NFL will hinge on landing with a franchise that recognizes how to deploy his unique skill set effectively. His ability to create separation, coupled with his route sophistication, offers significant upside in a slot-receiver role. If utilized correctly, Cowing could evolve into a versatile weapon, exploiting defenses in the short to intermediate game while contributing on special teams.

Dane Brugler's draft profile at The Athletic:
Cowing plays with a jetpack on his back sometimes to his detriment - and consistently shows up for his quarterback (finished his college career with a reception in 57 straight games, the second-longest streak in FBS history). With his track speed and small frame, he could receive the "Tank Dell bump" from teams during the draft process, although he isn't quite as crisp or sudden as the Houston Texans' receiver. Overall, Cowing is limited in areas by his size (smaller catch radius, average play strength), but he can separate vertically and specialize in getting open underneath. He projects as a dependable slot option and can become a regular NFL starter with some route-pacing tweaks.

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