Over the weekend, I was poking around Twitter and came across this comment from Matt Maiocco:
Then yesterday, in Drew's 100 in 100 post about WR Emmanuel Sanders, we had a brief discussion about the wide receiver position. All of it has me wondering about what we might see from 49ers WR Dominique Zeigler in 2010, if ever. We've discussed various 49ers quite a bit this offseason, but not much has been said about the man with one of the greatest afros we'll ever see on the football field. After the jump, we dive a little further into this topic.
Now that Isaac Bruce is retiring and Arnaz Battle has signed with the Steelers, the 49ers wide receivers consist of:
While there are no roster spot guarantees for Jason Hill and Brandon Jones, I'm going to operate under the assumption that they will probably be on the week 1 regular season roster. Maybe one or both ends up inactive for a stretch of games, but I think they make the final 53-man roster.
My question is what happens with Dominique Zeigler? I ask this in part because I'm almost positive he is out of practice squad eligibility. He was on the practice squad for all of 2007 and all of 2009, and spent half the 2008 season on the squad as well, which I believe counts as a season for eligibility purposes.
The biggest factor working in his favor is that Bruce and Battle are both out of the picture. Whatever you think of Battle, he had locked in a roster spot. Remove those two from the equation, and suddenly Zeigler has a clear opening to the 53-man roster...at least for now.
The 49ers have been quiet in free agency and do not appear likely to be adding a free agent wide receiver anytime soon. At the same time, I think most of us would be fairly shocked if the 49ers went into training camp, or even June practices, with just the five wide receivers currently on the roster. Some folks have mentioned adding Dez Bryant if he falls, others have pointed to some intriguing second round prospects, while others are in the camp of waiting till late in the draft, or going strictly after undrafted free agents.
While I think the team could use some more depth at wide receiver, I think it's mostly a matter of training camp depth. If the right guy falls to a certain point in the draft it would make sense to pounce. However, there is no need at this point to reach for said receiver.
So, if the team doesn't go high profile (Dez Bryant, or something like that), will we finally see Dominique Zeigler crack the roster full-time? Scouts Inc had this to say about him (Insider protected):
He has good size with adequate speed. He's an inconsistent route-runner whose speed tends to build downfield. He lacks explosiveness off the line and the vertical speed to stretch the defense. He makes good adjustments to the ball, but his route-running skills need improvement.
None of that is particularly shocking. One can only hope he's working out and practicing hard this offseason. After all, this would seem to be his best opportunity to crack the 49ers 53-man roster.