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A handful of wide receivers competing for one maaaaaybe two roster spots

The San Francisco 49ers have quite a few roster questions. The wide receiver position is deep enough that a lot of players could be left on the outside looking in.

The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up minicamp and are now five weeks away from the start of training camp. The 90-man roster is just about set, although a transaction here or there would not be entirely shocking. Shortly after the draft we put together a complete roster bubble watch, and now it’s time to re-visit it. The offseason workout program did not lock in most roster spots, but it might give us some hints here and there.

Over the next two weeks, we’re going to take a look at each position, and what the bubble watch looks like. As we’ve done for a while now, the bubble watch breaks down to lock, strong bubble, weak bubble, and longshot. For some positions, we’ll have multiple players listed at strong bubble, even though not all are likely to make the roster. But the idea is that they both stand a good shot, even if it is just one of them. Additionally, this does not reflect whether or not a player will be traded. Trades can and probably will happen during training camp, but the positioning on this focuses on whether or not they’d be cut.

Running back
Wide receiver
Tight end
Offensive Line
Defensive Line

Today, we’ll take a look at the wide receivers.

Lock: Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, Dante Pettis
Strong Bubble: Kendrick Bourne, Aldrick Robinson
Weak Bubble: Aaron Burbridge, Richie James, Victor Bolden Jr.
Longshot: Maxwell McCaffrey, Steven Dunbar

I made one change from the post-draft bubble watch. I had listed Aaron Burbridge as a longshot, but his special teams skills warrant a bump to weak bubble. Special teams might not be enough for a potentially deep receiver corps, but he was a standout when healthy.

The big question is whether the 49ers will carry five or six wide receivers in Week 1. Victor Bolden is facing a four-game suspension, so he might not even factor in, instead going on the reserve/suspended list to start the season. It would seem to come down to Burbridge, Kendrick Bourne, Aldrick Robinson, and Richie James competing for one maaaaaaybe two roster spots. Robinson has the veteran experience, while Bourne received extensive praise during the offseason workout program.

My guess is Bourne claims the fifth spot and Burbridge is competing with a host of non-receivers for a special teams specific role. As for James? If he emerges as a guy they don’t want to lose, maybe he ends up one of the seven weekly inactives. Otherwise, he could be ticketed for the practice squad.