The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their rookie minicamp this past weekend, and players now have the week off. With OTAs getting started in two weeks, now seems like a good time to start assessing what the 2016 NFL Draft means to the roster. We're going to run through each position on the depth chart and take a preliminary look at how the draft picks might impact it, as well as an initial thought on the bubble watch. Today, we move on to the wide receivers.
Torrey Smith, Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington, DeAndre Smelter, Eric Rogers, Jerome Simpson, Aaron Burbridge, DeAndrew White, DiAndre Campbell, Dres Anderson, Devon Cajuste, Bryce Treggs
The 49ers were active adding wide receivers this offseason, but they came in under the radar to a certain extent. The team signed CFL wide receiver Eric Rogers in January. They then added Aaron Burbidge in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Finally, they signed Devon Cajuste and Bryce Treggs as undrafted free agents.
Anquan Boldin appears all but certain to not return in 2016. That opens the door for a starting spot opposite Torrey Smith. I've seen some folks pencil in Quinton Patton, but it's not like he has wow'd his first three years. He did see significantly more opportunities last season, so he hopefully has built up some confidence from that. But he's a guy that I am not seeing as necessarily a lock to make the roster.
The question then becomes who could become that No. 2. The 49ers signed Rogers after he put up monster numbers in Canada last year. He did not last in the NFL previously, so it's hard to say how those numbers might translate. But he has gotten significant experience in the CFL, and he has the kind of size Chip Kelly seems to like.
DeAndre Smelter is coming off his torn ACL, and all indications are his knee is good to go. He could become the first ACL All Star to really break out if he takes advantage of the opportunity to replace Boldin.
And then you've got the Ds, DeAndrew White, DiAndre Campbell, and Dres Anderson. White made the 53-man roster out of training camp. He was inactive 11 games, played in four games, and was a DNP in one game. He played 30 offensive snaps and 28 defensive snaps, finishing the season with two receptions for 18 yards, one punt return for four yards, and six kickoff returns for 142 yards. Campbell was cut at the end of training camp, and spent the season on the practice squad. Anderson was placed on injured reserve during the first round of roster cuts.
This is one of the bigger bubbles out there. Torrey Smith and DeAndre Smelter seem like locks. Eric Rogers got $225,000 in guaranteed money. That does not guarantee a roster spot, but the 49ers clearly like him. And considering his time talking to Chip Kelly when the latter was still with the Eagles, I think he is a strong bubble option at this point.
Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington are tough ones to figure out. I think one or both makes the roster, but would it be entirely stunning if one of them did not? There are a whole lot of wide receivers competing for very few spots. DiAndre Campbell brings some solid height, while Devon Cajuste is an intriguing option who could play multiple positions. DeAndrew White looked good enough to get a roster spot last season. And even Jerome Simpson still has some veteran value.
A lot of this could depend on what the team does with Patton and/or Ellington. Will we see one or both them get released? Will we see a trade of some sort? Or will both of them end up on the 53-man roster when Week 1 arrives?