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Does Kyle Shanahan’s offense need an elite receiver?

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A former Kyle Shanahan-coached receiver thinks not.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Recently, I wrote about how the San Francisco 49ers don’t need to prioritize the wide receiver position this offseason, thanks to the emergence of Marquise Goodwin and the solid play of Pierre Garcon before he went down with an injury. But if they had an opportunity to get a true No. 1 receiver, should they target that position above others of need?

No, at least according to former NFL wide receiver Andrew Hawkins. Speaking on the 49ers Studios Podcast, Hawkins was asked about the team’s top four needs — cornerback, edge rusher, wide receiver and interior offensive line — and Hawkins said wide receiver could be last. His reasoning makes sense, to a point.

“Very rarely do teams with a top wide receiver win the Super Bowl,” Hawkins said. “That’s just not what it takes. I think you can find good receivers (everywhere). The top guys are not Super Bowl winners. Over the last 15 years, you can look at the teams with top wide receivers, and they don’t win Super Bowls. I don’t think that’s a coincidence, because I think it’s more of a chemistry thing. When you have that big time receiver who commands the ball so much, or you’re trying to get him the ball in certain situations, I think it kind of hurts the chemistry of the offense.”

What he says definitely makes sense, though it’s not a strict rule by any means, especially the very last thing he says about chemistry. The part that is more interesting, though, is when he talks about what the wide receiver does in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Hawkins played under Shanahan in Cleveland, and offered some insight on the kind of guys he likes.

“He needs a speed guy. He needs a guy who is faster than everybody else on the field. That’s a big part of his offense. He needs a tough guy. He needs a guy who is going to catch the ball over the middle, be tough as nails and be a little versatile. He needs a third down guy, who has great hands and will, under any circumstance, can move the sticks.”

Sure sounds like Goodwin, Garcon and Trent Taylor to me.