Each year, we like to run a series of posts called "90-in-90." The idea is that we'll take a look at every player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few ways. This roster will certainly change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not exactly 90 players in 90 days. At this point, it's a name we're keeping around for street cred.
Thirteen receptions, 208 yards, a touchdown and a long of 43 yards. We all knew the Green Bay Packers were going to have a miserable secondary in 2013-14, but can any of you honestly say you expected wide receiver Anquan Boldin to put up those kind of numbers right out of the gate in Week 1?
No. Not a single one of you can say that. Maybe you were expecting big things but damn that was awesome. I always knew Boldin was being brought in for more than just a guy to help in the event that Michael Crabtree got hurt (that did work out well, though), but I certainly didn't expect what he ended up bringing to the table.
Boldin didn't reach those heights the rest of the season, of course (and one reception for seven yards against the Seattle Seahawks hurts quite a bit), but he had several strong games. He put up 90 yards in the first game against the St. Louis Rams, 98 the second time, and 149 yards against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17, a game that was surprisingly important.
On top of that, Boldin was solid in the playoffs. He wasn't the point of focus against the Packers and had just 38 yards, but managed 136 yards against the stellar Carolina Panthers in the Divisional Round. He finished the season with 1,179 yards receiving, his best total since 2006 when he was still with the Arizona Cardinals.
Why he might improve:
Another year in a complicated system and another year for Colin Kaepernick to grow will certainly help. But the biggest impact could be a healthy Crabtree and the addition of Stevie Johnson. It's my opinion that Boldin will then be the third-best receiver on the team, but I believe the 49ers won't let this guy sit on the bench, especially on third downs. Having Boldin up against a team's third-best defensive back would be disastrous for the opponent.
Why he might regress:
He's 33 years old and he'll turn 34 during the regular season. He's played 11 years in the NFL and this will be his 12th. He's bound to slow down, though his game doesn't necessarily rely on speed, which is always the first thing to go. There's also the possibility that I'm wrong and the addition of Johnson could lead to significantly fewer snaps for Boldin.
Odds of making the roster:
There's no way the 49ers part with Boldin after signing him to a new deal this offseason. Johnson and Crabtree could be No. 1 and No. 2, but Boldin is just too valuable. He's a lock to make it, and should be a great mentor for Bruce Ellington and the other young receivers on the team.