The San Francisco 49ers are 21 days from their first training camp practice which means we'll start to get a better handle on who will rise and who will fall in the competition for roster spots. To prepare for training camp, we're going to go through a bubble watch of the entire roster. The plan will be to go position-by-position, and then compile it into our first bubble watch of training camp.
We continue our run through the positional depth charts, with a look at wide receivers. Thus far this week, we've been able to take a look at the quarterbacks, the running backs, and the fullbacks. Today, we move on to the wide receiver position. The veterans will report on July 23, and the rookies will report on July 16. Injured veterans can report on July 18, and given Stevie Johnson's hamstring issue for some of this offseason, maybe he shows up then.
Locks: Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Bruce Ellington, Quinton Patton
Strong Bubble: Stevie Johnson
Weak Bubble: Brandon Lloyd, Kassim Osgood
Longshot: Jon Baldwin, Chuck Jacobs, Devon Wylie, David Reed
It's safe to say people will be paying attention to the wide receiver competition in training camp. The 49ers have a deep group of receivers but we don't really know how things will shake out behind Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin. We know those two will be starting, but beyond that, it's entirely up in the air.
The 49ers acquired Stevie Johnson for a conditional fourth round pick, which could turn into a third round pick. My initial thoughts upon his addition was that Johnson was pretty much a lock. However, Matt Maiocco made a good point about his salary and justifying his spot. Furthermore, given that he has not even hit the practice field in team drills, it is enough to leave me just the slightest bit hesitant. If he is healthy at the start of camp, and shows his stuff through the first couple weeks, I would be plenty comfortable moving him to lock status.
I suppose we could say that nobody behind Crabtree and Boldin is assured of anything, but Ellington and Patton will be on the roster. It remains to be seen how big an impact those two will make at wide receiver, but they will get their chances. Both could end up doing more on special teams, but we'll see plenty of them in the preseason. They're not going anywhere.
Brandon Lloyd put together what by all accounts was a great offseason workout program. If he can carry that over into the padded practices of training camp, he very well could climb out of the weak bubble position. Kassim Osgood might be somewhere between weak and strong bubble because of his special teams skills. If the 49ers were to keep a sixth wide receiver, it seems like he would make the most sense. Of course, that means they'll now keep Lloyd as that sixth receiver and figure out some way to work him in to the mix.