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49ers ranked No. 28 in B/R receiver rankings

The 49ers rebuilding process is going to take some time, particularly at the wide receiver position.

The 2017 NFL regular season gets going 100 days from now, and that means we are coming into the lengthy home stretch for rankings and roster assessments. Bleacher Report’s lead NFL scout, Doug Farrar is in the midst of putting together rankings of positional units across the league, and on Tuesday he took a look at each team’s pass receivers and ranked the San Francisco 49ers No. 28. He combined wide receivers and tight ends.

The 49ers overhauled most of the wide receiver depth chart this offseason. They signed Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, and Aldrick Robinson as outside free agents, signed Jeremy Kerley to a three-year extension, drafted Trent Taylor in the fifth round, and then added several UDFAs. It’s not exactly a murderers’ row of receivers, but it’s a chance to upgrade from a mediocre at best unit last season.

The tight end group has some returning faces, but some of them are likely going to be gone by the time final roster cuts happen. The team signed veteran Logan Paulsen and UDFA Cole Hikutini, and drafted George Kittle in the fifth round. They tried to trade Vance McDonald, but nothing came of that.

Farrar ranked the 49ers ahead of the Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears, and New York Jets. He thinks Kyle Shanahan will maximize the talent on hand, but, “the franchise didn't do enough in the offseason to bolster this group.”

Here’s some of what he said about the various additions:

Pierre Garcon: “Garcon is a better bet as a second receiver, like he was with DeSean Jackson last season, but he'll be a solid upgrade over everyone else.”

Jeremy Kerley: “A slot guy who can get open underneath with route awareness and short-area quickness as opposed to an outside receiver.”

Marquise Goodwin: “[B]listering track speed (4.27 40-yard dash) but hasn't put it together on the field quite yet.”

Aldrick Robinson: “Reserve receiver for the Falcons when Shanahan was their offensive coordinator, and it's likely that he’ll fill the same role here.”

Kyle Juszczyk: “Juszczyk has 78 receptions over the last two seasons, and Shanahan likes to get his fullbacks involved in the passing game, so he could be a high-target guy.”

Overview: “San Francisco took just one receiver in the draft—Louisiana Tech's Trent Taylor in the fifth round—so it's clear Shanahan and Lynch see the passing game as a long-term rebuild. And with a quarterback rotation of Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley and C.J. Beathard, that could be true of the entire passing game.”

The 49ers’ rebuilding process has a ways to go, and some positions were addressed a bit more thoroughly than others. The 49ers focused on the defense early in the draft, while free agency is how the front office spent much of their time addressing the offense. Sure, Joe Williams, George Kittle, and Trent Taylor could make an impact as rookies, but for the most part, the pass catchers are veteran additions.

This makes for an interesting dynamic as the 49ers are working on returning to prominence. The 49ers signed Brian Hoyer to serve as a bridge quarterback. He might last two or three years, but he is not a long-term option. The offense has some intriguing young weapons, but it feels like much of the offense is a bridge as a whole. The team is building up the defense, and in the coming seasons we’ll see offensive additions to match the youth approach. In the meantime, they have some options to simply get this thing moving in the right direction.