We're very much into the month of April now and at this point, a lot of the chatter revolves around the NFL Draft. A lot of 49ers faithful are hoping their team will add a big-time playmaking receiver at No. 30, but we've almost neglected the two that have already been added. This offseason, the 49ers signed Randy Moss and Mario Manningham to short-term contracts, both of whom will look to fill a role immediately.
They are very different receivers, but either one is capable of outperforming the other in this system -- it's hard to tell who might shine. In this feature, I'd like to breakdown for you some categories that might indicate what to expect from Moss and Manningham in 2012.
Big Play Ability
Over this past decade, it's been hard to argue that many players had more big play ability than Randy Moss. It's the reason he's a Hall of Fame lock already; the gaudy numbers he's put up during his career were remarkable. If Moss' head is on straight for this year, he's the undisputed big-play threat for the 49ers at wide receiver.
What we've heard from Giants fans is that Manningham runs deceiving routes, even for his own quarterback. How his relationship develops with Alex Smith will be the determining factor of whether or not Manningham can get open for Smith. Moss on the other hand could push around any NFL cornerback, especially the ones in the NFC West. And the bottom line is, Moss is open even when he's covered; that's a big reason why San Francisco signed him in the first place.
Quarterback-Wide Receiver Relationship
Moss has been a virus at times with quarterbacks, and in addition to that, his skillset isn't a real match with Alex Smith's. The 49ers will likely have Manningham running a lot of underneath routes that I could see Smith getting comfortable with. I'm not saying Smith can't throw the long ball to either Moss or Manningham, but that it might not be as frequent as taking 7-12 yard chunks at a time.
Moss wants a ring. Manningham wants a home. With Moss only here on a one-year deal, the 49ers will look to get the most out of him in what might be his last NFL season ever. So it's hard to predict what might become of him this year. Manningham continues to differ from Moss in that he is young, still needs to prove himself and earn a long-term deal somewhere. He's also a Michigan man determined to prove his "toughness" and that he belongs as a starter in this league.
It's almost a 50-50 split when looking at the motivation, talent and situation of each player. Which might ultimately mean, it could be either one who shows up big-time in 2012. I love the fact that these two guys differ so much, and complement each other so well; it will make the offense more versatile and more dynamic as a whole.
But which one will be the 49ers 1,000-yard receiver (if they have one), I don't know. What do you think?
Follow me on Twitter: @DeSimone80