One of the many underrated components of the San Francisco 49ers for 2018 will be its wide receivers. In 2017, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo made Marquise Goodwin a household name and increased production from the rest of the wide receiver corps, despite missing their top name in Pierre Garcon. He also had tight ends George Kittle and Garrett Celek get a large piece of the targets, making the debut of Celek Time.
With Garcon back and Goodwin primed to have another career year, the 49ers wide receiver corps is flying in under the radar. They aren’t world beaters by any stretch of the imagination, but they have improved leaps and bounds from the near laughable group assembled the last few years. Combine that with Kittle and Celek, a group I said wasn’t worth messing with to get Rob Gronkowski, you’ve got a solid batch of pass catchers.
Pro Football Focus has their rankings out for the pass catchers and the 49ers are ranked at 24th in the league. Keep in mind this includes tight ends, not just wide receiers. It’s a bit high in my opinion, but we’ll get to that shortly. Here’s what they said about the 49ers:
While you’ve heard of running back by committee, the 49ers are going to be receiver by committee in 2018. Five different players saw at least 60 targets for the 49ers last year and that figures to be no different this year. Marquise Goodwin was the de facto No. 1, seeing 102 targets, but with Trent Taylor and George Kittle heading into Year 2 and now rookie second-rounder Dante Pettis on the roster, anyone could take the reigns.
It seems like this is a wait and see approach. There’s not a doubt in my mind the 49ers have top-15 potential with the group they have, all they have to do is go out and show it. If this offense is what I think it can be, we’re going to see a group of wide receivers that defenses just aren’t going to have an answer for. Kyle Shanahan likes his speed, and he got it with Goodwin, Pettis, and Taylor.
I would have had the 49ers in the 18th-20th range to start the season, but 24th seems about right. While the group is overrated, they also have some question marks in this new offense. Once they prove themselves, there’s no telling how good they are.