The 49ers decision to add WR Braylon Edwards this past week provides some solid improvement to the team's wide receiver depth. Although Edwards is as much about potential as production, if he can maintain his huge yards per catch average the 49ers will have a great big play threat to go alongside Vernon Davis. Having that kind of deep threat opens up the soft underbelly of the field for Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan, Ted Ginn, Kyle Williams and Ronald Johnson to collective make their mark.
While the 49ers might have an embarrassment of riches at wide receiver, or at least some very solid depth, there are still some question marks to start the season. Michael Crabtree is dealing with what may or may not be a chronic foot injury and Braylon Edwards could be facing a suspension following his guilty plea in a misdemeanor DWI case.
We don't know how the situation of either of them will play out at this point. Crabtree has indicated he is getting better, but we won't really know for sure until he gets the boot off and is back running routes in full pads. Edwards, on the other hand, hadn't heard from Commissioner Goodell when he was introduced by the 49ers last week. Both players could be playing week one, or we could see the 49ers missing two big weapons in the opener against the Seahawks.
Will these questionable situations open the door for one of the other 49ers receivers to step up and snag some playing time? Based on MM's August 5 practice report, Edwards and Morgan are the first team receivers, Ginn and Johnson the second team receivers, and Williams and Lance Long are the third team receivers.
Could Ronald Johnson battle his way into some serious playing time over the next month? As it currently stands, once everybody is healthy Josh Morgan will likely be the third wide receiver, with Ginn, Johnson, Williams and maybe Kevin Jurovich battling for the fourth and fifth receiver options. My guess is the team will carry six receivers on the 53-man roster, but the fifth and sixth receivers will find themselves getting little play and could very well spend much of the season inactive.
All of this is to say the 49ers wide receiver corps is in a position of excellent depth and potentially wild disorganization all at once. Can anybody make heads or tales of the depth chart? Edwards and Crabtree would be appear to be the one-two if healthy and not suspended. Beyond that how will it break down?