When the 49ers drafted Michael Crabtree, I was certainly quite excited. In drafting Crabtree, the 49ers added potentially their most dynamic wide receiver since Terrell Owens. While I would have been quite content with the receiving corp we had heading into 2009, only a fool would turn down a talent like Michael Crabtree.
However, the addition of Crabtree certainly leaves the team in a bit of a pickle when it comes to spreading the ball around. Both Maiocco and Barrows have discussed the potential logjam at wide receiver. It was the one drawback to selecting Crabtree, if you can even really call having too many talented receivers a drawback. And before, anybody says anything, I realize the talent is young and still relatively unproven. However, there is definitely talent spread throughout the receiver corp.
Although it's certainly way too early to make accurate predictions, I figured we'd at least open it up for discussion. How do you see Mike Singletary and Jimmy Raye handling this, particular given the intention of instituting a relatively conservative offense?
Although the winner of the Arnaz Battle/Dominique Zeigler battle royal likely won't be a huge factor in the passing game, I would like to clarify something.
Dominique Zeigler is NOT eligible for another season on the practice squad. I noticed that in discussions about the wide receiver position, anytime Zeigler was mentioned it was with the qualifier asking whether he was eligible for the practice squad. According to Article XXXIV of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, a player is not eligible for the practice squad if they have an accrued season of NFL experience. According to Article XVIII of the CBA, a player accrues a season of experience when they are on full pay status for six or more regular season games. Zeigler was active for the final 8 games of the regular season, so he officially has accrued a season. Given that fact, and the fact that Arnaz Battle is in the final year of his contract, and of course the fact that he's probably maxed out his performance, I tend to think Zeigler gets the roster spot over him.
So I'll post this up top so people who don't read this will see it, but according to Mike Sando at ESPN.com, players need nine games on the active roster to burn their practice squad eligibility. So that would mean Dominique Zeigler is in fact eligible for the practice squad in 2009. Interesting.
But back to the point of this post. Given all the receivers, how do you spread the receptions around? I thought Isaac Bruce would be coming off the bench, but based on the above Maiocco/Barrows articles, it sounds like he may be starting initially. Of course, Bruce and Brandon Jones both seem to play flanker (Z). You gave Jones a nice little chunk of money so I can't imagine you want him coming off the bench all that much. Do you move somebody to the slot ahead of Jason Hill?
The confusion of this post seems to run down to the receiving corp. They say you can never have enough talented receivers, but if you're not running a Texas Tech spread-style offense, what do you do with all these young wide receivers? For the poll, consider just overall statistical production.