The San Francisco 49ers cut down to 53 players over the weekend, and in doing so, they elected to keep six wide receivers. The group consists of Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson, Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington and Brandon Lloyd. The 49ers reportedly will bring back Kassim Osgood soon, but his role is almost exclusively as a special teams player.
As the 49ers prepare for the Dallas Cowboys, I find myself wondering how the wide receiver depth chart will shake out. We know Crabtree and Boldin are the top two receivers, but there are few answers beyond that. Stevie Johnson has the pedigree to be the No. 3 receiver, but Brandon Lloyd has received more praise. Quinton Patton showed some signs last year, but Bruce Ellington stood out in the preseason.
There has been plenty of chatter about the 49ers potentially adding more 3-WR sets. They have the talent to do it, but most of the reporting appears to be based on relative non-answers Greg Roman has given. He and Jim Harbaugh will not be confirming anything anytime soon, so we're left to wait and see what Week 1 brings.
Brandon Lloyd has been working through something lately, but Jim Harbaugh said over the weekend that he would be ready to go for Week 1. He was dealing with a hamstring injury earlier in the preseason, but there is no word about the more recent injury.
However, if he is good to go for Sunday, how do inactives shake out? Ellington and Lloyd seem like potential candidates to be inactive, but you can also argue reasons they will be active. Lloyd has been getting a lot of press about a strong offseason when he has been healthy. Ellington has seen a lot of targets in the preseason, and is also getting some return work. My guess is LaMichael James handles both kick and punt return work, but maybe the 49ers mix it up a bit.
My guess for now is that Lloyd is inactive. He's coming off an injury, and while Harbaugh said he would be available for Week 1, I'm willing to wait and see what the inactive list brings.