I recently took the time to research the wide receiver position a bit, and I think I may have stumbled upon some information that might be enlightening to a lot of people here, who I presume are like me and not too sound on the technicalities of football.
After reading a bit about the wide receiver position, it has occurred to me that whenever I have said that the 49ers are in need of a wide receiver who can do the "big plays" or make the "long catches", I was unaware I was actually referring to the "flanker" position, which runs the Y patterns in an offensive lineup. By this logic, Jerry Rice was a flanker, as is Randy Moss. I believe that the wide receiver core of the 49ers, as it stands, consists of receivers that are geared toward the split-end position. Michael Crabtree is possibly the best of the wide receiver core not because he is Michael Crabtree, but because he appears to play the split-end position better than any of the other receivers and even seems to do decent as a flanker.
The 49ers are in need of a Jerry Rice/Randy Moss/Larry Fitzgerald (flanker/Y) type of receiver in order to make those big plays and/or long passes happen again.
Does anyone agree? Do you think Michael Crabtree can be the flanker we have needed? Who could the 49ers possibly draft to fill that role?