Re-assessing the 49ers depth chart: Wide Receiver

Prior to free agency, we did a review/preview of the various positions on the 49ers depth chart.  It gave us a chance to review how the 2008 season went for each unit, and also take a brief look at free agency and the draft.  The very first position we did was wide receiver, way back on New Years Eve.  Give much of the recent news and discussion on the site, I thought it was a good time to re-address the position and how the depth chart is being molded this offseason.  We'll have this for most other positions as the offseason moves along.

In looking ahead, it seemed like there was TJ Houshmandzadeh and not much else.  Obviously last night's TO development changed that just a bit.  However, for the purposes of this post, I'm going to go on the assumption that the 49ers do not sign Terrell Owens.  And I actually was already starting this post when TO was released.  Crazy timing.

Now that the 49ers have signed Brandon Jones, I don't imagine they'll make any more significant wide receiver moves before the draft.  Maybe they add a practice squad body, but not much else.  So who does that leave us with?

Isaac Bruce
Josh Morgan
Jason Hill
Brandon Jones
Dominique Zeigler
Arnaz Battle

That doesn't inspire much fear, but the potential is certainly there.  The next move for the team will depend in part on what happens with Isaac Bruce.  Back in late February, Scot McCloughan thought it was 50-50 that Bruce would be back.  More interestingly was that the team needed to add two more good players at the receiver position.

So who does that mean?  They've got Brandon Jones (how many sarcastic comments about whether he's a "good player" will that inspire?), so that leaves room for one more player.  Above, I mentioned that I didn't think they'd make any more significant moves in free agency, but maybe Torry Holt's a possbility now that he's looking to be released?  If Bruce decided to retire, it would make even more sense.

If Bruce sticks around, I think they go the way of the draft and continue to give their version of the triplets (Hill/Morgan/Zeigler) more on the job training.  Signing Torry Holt might be a good short term move, but I think it could actually hurt in the long run.  Holt is on the downside of his career, but he would probably squelch the development of one of the younger guys.  Given another year of development I think the triplets (can I even call them that?) could do just fine.  So consider me a bit on the no side of signing Holt.

The other option, particularly if Bruce returns for one more year, would be grabbing another body through the draft.  Although Crabtree could conceivably fall to us, I'm going to operate under the assumption that the 49ers goes for a more pressing need in the first round.

Two guys who are on my radar are Hakeem Nicks of North Carolina and Brian Robiskie of Ohio State.  The problem with Nicks is that he had a monstrous performance in the Meineke Car Care Bowl (8 receptions, 217 yards, 3 TDs) and followed it up with a solid combine.  A successful Pro Day and Nicks could very well go in the late first round.  Although it might be more prudent to wait on receiver, given the 49ers youth there, if Nicks was around in the second round, it would be very easy to pounce on him.

Real quickly on Robiskie...his dad is Terry Robiskie, former interim head coach of the Redskins is now the wide receivers coach for the Falcons.  That certainly has to be a positive for Robiskie, doesn't it?  I don't know if Robiskie is worth the high second round pick (11th of the round), but he's definitely a talented receiver, put in a position to succeed at the next level.

So, all things considered, if McCloughan isn't sandbagging us on the "two good players" at receiver, who might that second guy be?

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