Is Ted Ginn, Jr. the Most Versatile 49er?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Ted Ginn #19 of the San Francisco 49ers outruns Earl Thomas #29 of the Seattle Seahawks on his way to scoring a touchdown on a kickoff return during their season opener at Candlestick Park on September 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

We're all getting accustomed to the idea that Jim Harbaugh and staff favor guys who can do multiple things for the team. They routinely use defensive players as extra blockers, offensive linemen as tight ends and full backs, and have even experimented with defensive backs playing receiver.

With this in mind ESPN did a piece on "most versatile players", with Ted Ginn being the highest ranking 49er on the list among the NFC West. The piece can be found here (IN$ider), but I'll give you the highlights:

...Ginn will likely devote most of his time as a return specialist (27.6-yard kickoff return average in 2011, 12.3-yard punt return average). He can still be dangerous as a role player in their three- and four-WR packages, especially on reverses.

I'm not sure I really understand the thinking here. The paragraph starts out saying how Ginn's 19 reception season in 2011 must improve, that he's mostly under performed throughout his career, and that he has questionable hands (things we all know)...yet it goes on to say he can be dangerous in three and four wide packages (we rarely utilize them)...so really they're saying:

"Those two fly-sweeps were pretty cool!"

More after the jump.

I'm not trying to make it personal, but this just screams "lazy writing" to me. Anyone who's watched more than just the highlights knows that Ted Ginn is a returner and occasional threat on the sweep, key word: occasional.

He doesn't play any other special teams and despite being on the field quite a bit early-on last season, he still only managed the aforementioned 19 catches. Even as a returner, where he's quite good, his consistent hands and overall ball-security are his best assets, followed closely by his breakaway speed when he DOES get in the open field.

Why not mention other guys like Isaac Sopoaga, who caught a pass for a first down, was in on a ton of offensive plays, and held down the nose-tackle spot on the NFL's best defense?

What about Delanie Walker? He had the same number of catches as Ginn, three touchdowns (including the game-winner against Detroit) to Ginn's zero, and he also plays on coverage units...routinely the first one down the field involved in the stop.

If Ginn had actually put up some numbers on offense, and with any consistency, it would be a no-brainer. But at this point calling him anything more than a damn-good returner is just misplaced.

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