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Roster battles: Who wins the #4 wide receiver spot?

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The 49ers have a few options, but who will separate themselves from the pack?

Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

SB Nation recently released their wide receiver rankings. The San Francisco 49ers were ranked 24th on the list. Check out who they have listed as the teams fourth wide receiver. Assuming you’re still here and didn’t throw your laptop or phone across the room, that brings up one of the more fascinating roster battles for the 49ers. Who will be the team’s fourth receiver?

Because the Niners have a star tight end, and a few running backs that can hurt you through the air, the fourth wide receiver may very well play another position. Of the receivers, Kendrick Bourne. Jordan Matthews. Jalen Hurd and Trent Taylor will fight for the fourth spot. With an offensive mind like Kyle Shanahan—who will play the best matchups—each of those receivers above could be the fourth option for any given game. That’s the beauty of having weapons.

One argument for each

If it’s third and six or less, you’re going to trot out Taylor and feel confident he will win his 1-on-1 matchup.

If you need a player to make the tough catch in traffic or the tough play in general, Bourne is your guy.

Matthews has always been able to create after the catch. That’s a trait the receivers not named Dante Pettis lacked a year ago. Matthews is a big, fast, reliable receiver that can break tackles.

Hurd is the ultimate wildcard. Not only can you move him around, but he’s probably the best of the four at making plays down the field. If you want to take a shot down the field, or even beyond ten yards, Hurd should be on the field.

One argument against each

Taylor was targeted 41 times in 2018, only eight of those were over 10 yards. There were a couple of contested situations that Taylor couldn’t finish last year or even routes where he couldn’t separate due to the defensive back sitting on his routes. The predictability of knowing exactly where Taylor will line up and that he’ll run some sort of underneath route brings down his value.

While Bourne does the dirty work over the middle and finds ways to get open, there isn’t anything he does that “wows” you. His ceiling is capped, and early on in the year—with Jimmy Garoppolo playing— it didn’t seem like he was much of an option.

Matthews hasn’t been able to stick on a team for a reason. Whether that’s from injuries, or him not being able to stand out. While Matthews makes the most of his targets, he hasn’t been able to separate consistently in recent years to be a more significant part of his team’s offense.

A wide receiver who is playing a new position for the second year is going to have some struggles. When the second year happens to be at the highest level of competition, those struggles might be magnified. Hurd will be useful, but it’s going to take some time.

By the time December rolls around, which receiver will have had the most productive season?

Poll

Who will be the most productive WR in 2019

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Trent Taylor
    (392 votes)
  • 9%
    Kendrick Bourne
    (191 votes)
  • 27%
    Jordan Matthews
    (519 votes)
  • 42%
    Jalen Hurd
    (816 votes)
1918 votes total Vote Now