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49ers bubble watch: Wide receivers feature a lot of young questions

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The San Francisco 49ers have questions at almost every position while they work to figure out their 53-man roster. We’ll break down the bubble watch for each one. Today we look at wide receivers.

The position-by-position San Francisco 49ers bubble watch continues! We’re into another weekend without 49ers football, so we have to come up with something to entertain ourselves, right? So why not a little bubble watch chatter?

Over the next two weeks, we’re going to take a look at each position, and what the bubble watch looks like. As we’ve done for many years now, the bubble watch breaks down to lock, strong bubble, weak bubble, and longshot. For some positions, we'll have multiple players listed at strong bubble, even though not all are likely to make the roster. But the idea is that they both stand a good shot, even if it is just one of them. Thus far, we have looked at quarterbacks and running backs. Today we look at wide receivers.

Lock: Torrey Smith, DeAndre Smelter

Strong bubble: Bruce Ellington, Quinton Patton, Eric Rogers

Weak bubble: Dres Anderson, Aaron Burbridge, DiAndre Campbell, Jerome Simpson, DeAndrew White

Longshot: Devon Cajuste, Bryce Treggs

This is the first position where we’ve got players in all four spots on the bubble watch. And I am certain there will be disagreement with regard to several of these. Everybody has their own distinct opinions about virtually every one of the receivers. And even the ones that are not too high on our radar will still lead to some discord.

Quinton Patton is going to generate plenty of debate. Some folks think he should have been cut long ago, some think he could break out this season, and the rest are somewhere in the middle. I think he makes the roster and could be in line for a decent year, but his training camp is going to be as important as anybody else. There are some really interesting young options behind him, and while Patton is still only 25, he’s entering the final year of his contract. It’s time to put up or shut up.

Rogers was a guy I considered for lock status given the guaranteed money ($100,000), but if he was cut and signed to the practice squad, it would offset. It gets interesting in comparing him with the 2015 UDFAs and Aaron Burbridge. The Dallas Cowboys signed Rogers as a UDFA back in 2013, but released him late in training camp. He then spent two years in the Canadian Football League, leading the league in receiving last year. The CFL is a minor league compared to the NFL, but leading the most notable non-NFL professional football league in receiving is not exactly small potatoes. So, he’s not a UDFA at this point, but he’s obviously not a standout NFL receiver. And so, I stick him above those other four receivers.

That being said, I do think that there is a very good chance one of the weak bubble players ends up on the roster. I thought about Jerome Simpson as a strong bubble guy, but even with his veteran status, I just don’t know what to make of him. He could end up on the roster, particularly given the lack of serious veterans other than him and Torrey Smith. But, I still am inclined to think it’s one of the younger guys who could sneak on to the roster.

As for the 2016 UDFAs? They certainly are not completely unlikely to end up on the roster, but it’s a significant uphill climb. I’m open to moving them up to weak bubble once we see more in training camp, but for the time being, they remain long-shots. Bryce Treggs got more publicity in the offseason workout program thanks to his time doing some return work. We’ll see how that carries over into training camp.