The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up the 2017 season and have begun their work to prepare for 2018 free agency and the draft. We’ll be breaking down plenty of what that means, but in the meantime, we wanted to take a look back at the season that was for the 49ers. Jimmy Garoppolo capture our imagination, but the 49ers rebuilding process was extensive last year. We are going to take a look at every notable addition and provide a forum for grading how that signing, trade, or draft pick worked out.
The San Francisco 49ers overhauled their wide receiver depth chart last year, and they opened it quickly with the additions of Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin. Garçon was brought in to serve as the No. 1 receiver, while Goodwin was viewed by most as primarily a deep threat.
Goodwin has world class track speed, but in four season with the Buffalo Bills, inconsistency and injuries kept him from ever reaching hoped for potential. His final season in Buffalo was his best, finishing with 29 receptions for 431 yards and three touchdowns.
Through the first eight weeks, Goodwin made some plays and was on track for career highs, but inconsistency remained an issue. He seemed to drop at least one notable pass each week, if not more. He wasn’t a bad receiver, but he was not offering the 49ers a whole lot on a regular basis.
In Week 8, Pierre Garçon suffered his season-ending neck injury, and something sparked Goodwin. Through the first eight weeks of the season, he had 20 receptions for 349 yards. Over the final eight weeks of the season, he had 36 receptions for 613 yards. Losing Garçon thrust Goodwin into the spotlight, but he also benefited from Jimmy Garoppolo’s emergence in the starting role. Garoppolo did great work spreading the ball around, but Goodwin became a favorite of his.
An injury in Week 17 prevented Goodwin from getting over 1,000 yards for the season, but he still finished with career highs in receptions (56) and yards (962). Goodwin finished third in yards per catch, but he was not simply a deep threat. He was viewed as a one-trick pony in Buffalo, but we saw him showing his skills on a variety of routes. His speed remains a big part of his game, but we saw a more well-rounded receiver in 2017.
The 49ers head into the 2018 offseason likely looking for more pass catchers, but it’s hard to tell exactly how much they are prepared to invest in the position. Pierre Garçon returns from his neck injury, and Marquise Goodwin’s emergence raised some eyebrows. Trent Taylor proved to be a strong third down threat, and Kendrick Bourne stepped up his game the latter half of the season. They might still look to invest big in the position in free agency and/or the draft, but I would not be surprised if they were comfortable investing elsewhere and letting it ride with much of what we saw this year.
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