The San Francisco 49ers settled on their 53-man roster over the weekend, or at least one version of it. On Monday, the team claimed Taylor Hart from the Philadelphia Eagles, and cut Bruce Miller. They will make further changes over the course of the season, but we at least have a really good idea of the Week 1 roster. With that in mind, I thought we would take a look at each position and compare it with the roster in Week 17 and Week 1 last year. We move on to the wide receivers
Current: Torrey Smith, Quinton Patton, Jeremy Kerley, Rod Streater, Aaron Burbridge (PS: Dres Anderson, Chris Harper)
Week 17, 2015: Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington, Jerome Simpson, DeAndrew White (PS: DiAndre Campbell)
Week 1, 2015: Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington, DeAndrew White (SSPD: Jerome Simpson, PS: DiAndre Campbell)
The 49ers wide receiver position is all over the place heading into Week 1. The 49ers added Aaron Burbridge in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, but made their most notable additions with trades for Jeremy Kerley and Rod Streater. The veterans offer experience opposite Torrey Smith that could at least raise this group from likely awful to maybe not super awful.
The player I remain most intrigued about is Quinton Patton. He could end up doing nothing, but we finally started to see a little bit of something from him last year. He’s staring a pretty huge opportunity in the face this season, and while it might not be a huge breakthrough season, I think we see him put up some decent numbers.
Kerley is also an intriguing figure following his addition two weeks ago. Bruce Ellington was looking at a huge opportunity, but a torn hamstring ended his season before it could begin. Kerley is likely to get a lot of opportunities in the slot. It will come down in part to how quickly he has picked up the playbook. But he could be a critical component that opens up more for guys like Smith, Patton, and Streater.
I would not be at all surprised if we saw one or both of the practice squad receivers get an opportunity at some point. With so many questions about the passing offense, it’s hard to say right now what to expect out of the group.