The San Francisco 49ers entered the 2015 season with some intriguing pass-catching options. Many of us thought they were deep at tight end, but it was the addition of Torrey Smith that had us all intrigued. Combining Smith with Boldin gave them potentially their best one-two punch in some time. That unit did not pan out as we hoped, due in part to curiously awful decisions with regard to wide receiver use.
The 49ers wide receiver depth chart faces some questions heading into the 2016 offseason, and Dan Kadar's latest 2016 NFL mock draft addresses the position in the first round. Kadar has the 49ers selecting Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. Dan has Treadwell and Ohio State wide receiver Michael Thomas as the only two receivers off the board in the first round. It's interesting to note that Dan has quarterback Jared Goff going No. 2 to the Cleveland Browns, but quarterback Paxton Lynch slipping to No. 15 if the 49ers do not select him.
Here's what he had to say about the Treadwell pick:
If we think the 49ers are going to pass on a quarterback in the first round, a risky gamble, where do they look? At wide receiver, the team has 35-year-old Anquan Boldin andTorrey Smith, a No. 2 receiver at best. Treadwell could be the top option for whoever is making the throws.
Anquan Boldin has said he wants to return to the 49ers, but I would not have expected much different from him during the season. Once he hits the open market, there should be plenty of competitive offers for his services. We also don't know whether the 49ers actually want to spend the money to bring him back. They drafted DeAndre Smelter as a red-shirt candidate last year, and will look for him to potentially grab a significant role. Torrey Smith is a deep threat that was not used nearly enough in 2015. Quinton Patton could be a third or fourth receiver, but does not seem like a whole lot more. Bruce Ellington has speed, but struggles with injury issues, and never seems to get significant opportunities. DeAndrew White is an intriguing UDFA talent, and Jerome Simpson is at least signed through next year, but his status is probably far from certain.
All that is to say that wide receiver is certainly a position of consideration in the upcoming draft. Free agency could change that with some talent on the market, and we don't know what will happen with Anquan Boldin. My guess is Boldin departs in free agency, but we'll find out more in three months.