Vernon Davis the Wide Receiver?

Thearon W. Henderson

What should we make of the news that Vernon Davis has been practicing with the WRs? Well, probably not much -- but offensive creativity should only make this team better.

I remember quite vividly watching the game against the Rams in which Vernon Davis tied the single-season TD reception record for the tight end position. By pulling in his 13th TD, Davis tied a record set by Antonio Gates on the Chargers in 2004. Unfortunately, it was later broken by the Patriots' Rob Gronkowski. But in that game, Vernon Davis hauled in a TD after running a fade route from the tight end position.

We've seen it before. This isn't really unusual for him. His speed and size allows him the opportunity to run almost any route from any position on the field. This is why he is such a gifted player -- one we are lucky to have.

But I wonder how he would play stretched out as a WR on a semi-consistent basis. Yesterday we had some hoopla abound when there were reports and counter reports about Vernon's practice habits. Oh, he is with the receivers! Everybody hate on A.J. Jenkins! Oh, wait, this is apparently normal. You know, stuff like that.

But the fact remains that this is still a potentially deficient WR corps right now. It could also potentially be awesome. That's the problem. The corps is basically full of guys who haven't proven much at an NFL level. We know what Anquan Boldin can do, but besides him, the most experienced receiver is a guy coming off a major injury in Kyle Williams. Moreover, before his injury, he basically showed himself to be a good number three receiver with occasional big play ability. That's not awe-inspiring.

This isn't to castigate Williams or Jenkins. I think both can be successful at the NFL level. I really hope they are. I just want to draw attention to a position that has frequently been a weakness on this team for, well, a few solid years now. I'd like to think that a new page has been turned, but when you look at a group of unproven guys, you should hope for the best but expect the worst.

So, yes, I would like to see Vernon utilized a bit more creatively this year. Flex him out wide. Put him in the slot. Trust your blocking enough such that Vernon doesn't have to block all the time. If the team doesn't want to bring in outside talent, then use the considerable talent already on the roster.

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