Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but you get the idea.
The San Francisco 49ers wide receiver depth chart has been an inconsistent mess for some time now. They’ve lacked a true No. 1 receiver since Terrell Owens, trying out a variety of options over the last 15 years. Even when they’ve had solid options like Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, there has not been enough additional depth on a regular basis.
This year, the 49ers did not invest significant capital addressing the position from a long-term perspective, but they did add some weapons that should help improve things in the short term. Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin were the most notable additions, but Aldrick Robinson was another interesting free agency signing.
Robinson started his career with Washington, spending 2011 on their practice squad, and spending 2012, 2013, and most of 2014 on the 53-man roster. He was released in 2014, and spent some time in Baltimore to close out that season. He was not on a roster in 2015, but landed with the Atlanta Falcons in 2016. He had a career-high 20 receptions for 323 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games with the Falcons. I chatted with Jeanna Thomas from The Falcoholic, and she had this to say:
He's more of a slot guy, pretty reliable. He won't be a tremendous factor, probably, but he can contribute. He's got a great work ethic and is a good teammate so he's a good guy to have around for sure, especially as they're rebuilding
Age: 28 (29 on September 24)
Experience: 4 accrued seasons
Weight: 187 lbs
Signed two-year contract this offseason. Received a $300,000 signing bonus, with $200,000 of his first year salary fully guaranteed. He is due a $1.25 million base salary, $300,000 in roster bonuses, and a $100,000 workout bonus. His 2017 cap hit is $1.8 million.
Why he might improve in 2017
He has the benefit of extensive experience under Kyle Shanahan. He played for Shanahan last year in Atlanta, and for two seasons in Washington. The 49ers are overhauling their roster, which means a lot of new players learning a new offense. Any improvement would seem likely to be based on having the advantage of knowing the offense. It does not guarantee improvement, but it might give him an edge over what he had going on in Atlanta.
Why he might regress in 2017
There are a lot of new bodies, and it would seem like Shanahan probably has a pretty good idea of what Robinson is and brings to the table. If Trent Taylor emerges fairly early, and Jeremy Kerley can build on his strong 2016 season, Robinson could slide down the depth chart in a hurry.
Odds of making the roster
The 49ers wide receiver depth chart is likely topped by Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, and Jeremy Kerley. My guess is Robinson falls somewhere in there between Kerley and Trent Taylor, with the UDFAs and other returning 49ers returning receivers coming in after that. Robinson is likely fairly safe, but I won’t go so far as to say lock. He’s on the lower end in terms of guaranteed money. Considering the 49ers cap space, if one or two of the UDFAs and/or returning receivers below Robinson step up, he very well could get released. I think it is unlikely that happens, but it’s at least a possibility.