With Chip Kelly installing his new uptempo offense, a lot of questions surround the current San Francisco 49ers wide receiver corps. Each member has their strengths that someone somewhere has argued could become downright nasty in Kelly’s offense.
ESPN insider put together their list of the most underrated player from each team using Football Outsiders’ advanced metrics. Here’s who they have for the 49ers:
Wide Reciever Torrey Smith
Despite a steady stream of low-percentage deep targets from quarterbacks with accuracy issues, Smith has consistently been a productive wideout, often doing well in YAC+ (yards after catch above expectation, given the length of the pass) and excelling at drawing pass interference penalties.
It was a bit of a eyebrow raiser to see Torrey Smith as the player from the 49ers, but given what happened last year, it definitely makes sense. Given the current unproven group of wide receivers on the roster, Smith is in position to not just be a clear cut number 1 wide receiver, but have a year on par with his breakout season in 2013. That year, he led the Baltimore Ravens with 137 targets, 65 receptions, and 1,128 yards. In subsequent years he didn’t quite get back to those numbers with 767 yards in 2014 and 663 yards in 2016, his first season in San Francisco.
Given just how bad the 49ers offense was last year though, it’s easy to think that a lot of Smith’s stunted production was a result of scheme and play calling. He would have had another 100 yards if not for this blunder:
There were a lot of missed opportunities with Torrey Smith last season. Do you agree and think he’s the most underrated player on the roster?