49ers Showing Interest in ‘Big Time Sleeper’ WR: Report

A diminutive, yet explosive, wide receiver continues his climb up the NFL Draft boards — and now has the attention of the San Francisco 49ers following a stand out Pro Day performance.

Per Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network on Thursday, March 23, Liberty receiver and return ace Demario Douglas has the 49ers “showing a lot of interest.” The 49ers were one of approximately 30 teams on hand at Liberty’s Pro Day from Pauline’s count.

The 5-foot-8, 179-pounder had already won over 49ers analyst Brad Graham of The SFNiners, who called him one of his draft crushes while writing on Wednesday, March 22:

“Absolutely love this guy’s ability and was a phenomenal interview, one of my favorites to talk to at the Combine. Can fill in as returner and immediate impact as a gadget type player. Big time sleeper.”

Pauline Describes Performance of Douglas in Front of NFL Reps

Before running through drills and routes on his campus, Douglas was described as a “Smallish slot receiver with adequate speed and quickness but inconsistent route running and ball skills” by nfl.com draft expert Lance Zierlein.

But how did Wednesday shake out for Douglas? Pauline gave a description:

“Shrine Bowl participant Demario Douglas continues his upward move on receiver boards. He timed 7.00 seconds in the three-cone, which was the only test he did not complete during Combine workouts. Just as he did during the Shrine Bowl and Combine, Douglas ran sensational routes, looked incredibly quick-footed, and caught everything thrown in his direction.”

Sounds like his day was the opposite of the early scouting report. Yet even before his Pro Day, Douglas was able to get on NFL boards with his combine performance in Indianapolis:

Liberty WR Demario Douglas has had a nice day. Inside/out versatile that’ll offer value on teams. pic.twitter.com/5nXcSloJqe

— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) March 4, 2023

But still, there are some dilemmas facing the Flames wideout as noted by Pauline.

“The measurements (5’8 1/4″, 30 1/4″ arms, and 8 3/4″ hands) could be an issue for some teams,” Pauline wrote. “But in the right system, Douglas will be a tremendous slot receiver/return specialist.”

That’s when Pauline revealed two teams interested in Douglas — the 49ers and another with past 49ers representation with Ex-49ers executive Ran Carthon as general manager.

“The Tennessee Titans, who need a speed receiver (Douglas timed as fast as 4.38 seconds on watches at the Combine), as well as the 49ers, are showing a lot of interest,” Pauline said.

Following Pro Day, Pauline now predicts: “I have Douglas graded as a fifth-round pick, but it would not surprise me if he sneaked into the fourth.”

Breakdown: How Douglas Fits 49ers

He’s got gadget player written all over him…perfect for Kyle Shanahan and his offense as his scheme is filled with versatile weapons like Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey and Ray-Ray McCloud.

Douglas, though, isn’t just impressive with his speed but with the trust he has in it even as a smaller wideout:

Tommy Devito 🎯 Demario Douglas 😤 pic.twitter.com/XI4MHkrtm9

— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) January 30, 2023

There’s more: His speed gives him this kind of separation:

Demario Douglas 🔥

The @LibertyFootball keeps impressing at the @ShrineBowl pic.twitter.com/xjQq5Vnksx

— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) January 29, 2023

And in a gameday situation plus with his team down in the fourth quarter, Douglas proved he’s the guy worth turning to for the house call:

Demario Douglas 🏡 call! 75 yards!! pic.twitter.com/BqnXsvswg4

— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) November 12, 2022

Finally, he accompanies his speed with elusiveness — hitting defenders with jukes or spin moves to gain extra yards.

Douglas also improved his numbers each season with the Flames. From 2019 to 2022 here’s the totals:

2019: Freshman season saw just nine catches for 136 yards and one touchdown.
2020: During COVID-19 season, upped his totals to 32 receptions, 363 yards and three scores.
2021: Production skyrocketed to 52 grabs, 701 yards and six touchdowns.
2022: In his final CFB season, snatched career-best numbers in receptions (79), yards (993) and added 105 rushing yards on five carries. Also scored a career-high seven TDs.

Douglas is generating late interest for his speed and versatility. But his catch consistency has improved off Pauline’s observance. Now, the “big time sleeper” has his name linked as a strong possibility for the 49ers once April 28 and 29 arrives.

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