The San Francisco 49ers wide receiver depth chart is a huge question mark through the first week of training camp. Chip Kelly said that the team is still trying to figure out who their playmakers are outside of Torrey Smith. They have a lot of young talent that will get opportunities, but one veteran appears to be standing out. Kelly had praise for Jerome Simpson, and Chris Biderman has him as one of his players whose stock is on the rise thus far.
On Monday, Simpson made a 40-yard reception in practice on a nine-route, according to Biderman. After the catch, Simpson sprinted back to the line of scrimmage and was off and running without needing to catch a breath. Kelly talked about how he runs around like the youngest player among the wide receivers, and can basically run all day. Kelly was asked about his experience, as Simpson is the next most experienced receiver after Torrey Smith. Specifically, he was asked if the experience shows compared to the other receivers:
“It does show. It’s showed in a lot of different ways. I’ve come here on a Saturday and he’s had three or four receivers out here in the spring catching tennis balls. He’s just kind of the consummate professional in terms of his work ethic and his approach. The younger guys in that room kind of gravitate to him in terms of how he studies, how he watches film, how he takes notes, how he prepares for practice, how he recovers after practice, you know, what his mindset is like in terms of being a professional and he’s one of the best I’ve ever been around in terms of his approach to the game in taking care of what he has to do to put himself in the best situation to make plays.”
Simpson has never been able to firmly grab ahold of an opportunity and run with it (pun partially intended). In 2011, he had 50 catches for 725 yards, and in 2013 he had 48 catches for 726 yards. He had five receptions in five games last season, but it was a pretty lost year for the offense as a whole. We’ve talked about Torrey Smith and Bruce Ellington potentially benefiting from Chip Kelly’s offense, but Simpson’s veteran status makes him a guy to watch.