The San Francisco 49ers first week of OTAs was marked with some positive reports about various young wide receivers. Quinton Patton got a lot of praise following Thursday's OTA, but Dres Anderson was another one who showed up on some practice reports.
The 49ers drafted DeAndre Smelter, and then added five wide receivers in undrafted free agency. That group includes Dres Anderson, DiAndre Campbell, DeAndre White, Darius Davis and Issac Blakeney. I don't know why the De's were so prevalent, but odds are pretty good it leads to name confusion at some point!
Along with those six receivers, the 49ers welcome back Chuck Jacobs following a 2014 ACL tear, and of course have Bruce Ellington and Quinton Patton looking to take a big step forward behind Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. And of course, we cannot forget about the addition of Jerome Simpson. I keep forgetting about him, but he is plenty talented in his own right. There are question marks for all of these youngsters, but there is at least some intriguing talent to consider.
Boldin and Smith are the clear-cut top two receivers heading into the 2015 season. Patton and Ellington are the favorites to get work behind those two, while Jerome Simpson is a tough one to figure out. The 49ers are spending an inexpensive flier on a guy who has a ton of talent, but dealt with his share of off-field issues. Beyond that, the contingent of youngsters will be looking at extensive playing time this preseason.
Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith will get some work, but odds are pretty good Boldin in particular does not work a ton of snaps during the preseason. That opens the door for the rest of this group to try and earn roster spots. When I put together a post-draft 53-man roster projection, I had a wide receiver corps that included Boldin, Smith, Patton, Ellington and Simpson, with DeAndre Smelter on the NFI list. That is the easiest possibility, but clearly not the only one.
Do you have a young wide receiver that you will be paying particular attention to this August? Dres Anderson has the pedigree (son of Flipper Anderson), so that makes him an easy one. Darius Davis intrigues me because he flew under the radar even more so than the others due to his Division II status.
But for the third straight season, Chuck Jacobs remains my guy! The 49ers signed him as a UDFA in 2013, and he put together some strong garbage time work that preseason, and earned a spot on the practice squad. He tore his ACL in the 49ers first preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, and spent the year on injured reserve. All indications are that he is looking good right now in his return from the injury. Now he needs to take a step forward in training camp and the preseason.
The most likely positive outcome for Jacobs is probably the practice squad, but he faces serious competition from an intriguing group of wide receivers. That being said, does any of this group seem likely to surprise us an snag a spot on the 53-man roster? My gut says no, but we all know that preseason rooting interests often have little to do with what our gut tells us.