49ers depth chart 2014: What's next at wide receiver in free agency and the 2014 NFL Draft?

Al Messerschmidt

The San Francisco 49ers need a receiver. They'll probably get one early on in the NFL Draft.

So we've covered every position in our look at the San Francisco 49ers' depth chart except one ... wide receiver. This is a position that could go so many different ways that I don't think any of us know what's going to happen within the next three seasons. None of the guys currently on the roster are guaranteed to be here.

Anquan Boldin came in last year and was supposed to be a reliable option behind Michael Crabtree. Then Crabtree got hurt and Boldin became the start. He flourished in the role, an intense return on value given that he was acquired with a sixth-round pick.

The 49ers tried a few options behind Boldin like Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams and Jon Baldwin and none of those things really worked out. Going forward, the 49ers will hopefully have two excellent starters in Boldin and Crabtree, but there's a whole lot else to consider both in 2014 and going forward.

For one, Crabtree is on an expiring contract and Boldin doesn't have much time left. The 49ers need to make sure they have things in place for the possibility that those guys are gone soon. But for two, the 49ers also just ... need another body on the field right now.

In free agency, the 49ers brought in Brandon Lloyd, which would have been exciting like four years ago. Now, he's been out of football for a year and will be fighting to make the roster. Personally, I think the 49ers signed him to see if he had anything left in the tank and will now release him prior to the start of the regular season with the "hey we'll call you if someone gets hurt" designation. That really should be an official designation.

Then there's Quinton Patton, who is entering his second NFL season. Patton was limited due to injuries last season. He did have a few big catches and if you didn't already know, I'm a huge Patton fan and think big things are coming. But beyond him, there's Baldwin, Kassim Osgood, Devon Wylie, Chuck Jacobs, David Reed and DeMarco Sampson.

At this point, I think we can rule out any more moves in free agency. Lloyd may get released and if so, he's the guy to bring back further down the line if the 49ers need it. We all know that the NFL Draft is where the 49ers need to turn to address the position going forward.

The 49ers need an option for now and for the future, and that should hopefully be the same guy -- a receiver taken early in the draft. If we're looking at the current roster, then a speed guy would be best suited to compliment Crabtree and Boldin and honestly, it would be a nice change to have that kind of game-breaking ability and speed. To me, that' the top priority for the 49ers in the draft.

Many believe receivers could be the first-round pick for the 49ers. I think that's accurate, though I could see cornerback or something else, as well. We know the big names: Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Marqise Lee, Odell Becham Jr., Brandin Cooks, Allen Robinson and Kelvin Benjamin. The top guys would be great, but the 49ers probably have to trade up for that.

Fortunately, the 49ers are no strangers to trading up and I full expect them to do so if the guy they want is there. For the a full look at receivers, linking Poldarn's big board has been a good resource throughout this feature and we'll link it one more time. However, I think it's a safe bet to assume the 49ers will leave the draft with one of the top guys mentioned above. Exactly who is anybody's guess.

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