The San Francisco 49ers have once again overhauled their wide receiver unit. The retooling began in 2017 with the additions of Trent Taylor, Marquise Goodwin, and Kendrick Bourne, 2018 brought Dante Pettis and others, and now 2019 completes the circle with Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd. The 49ers have not had a 1,000-yard wide receiver since Anquan Boldin in 2014. George Kittle managed over 1,000 yards in 2018, but he’s a tight end, not a wide receive.
He’s also George-freaking-Kittle.
The 49ers have a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo as well as all sorts of weapons to play with in 2019. Could one of those wide receivers break out for 1,000 yards? It’s tough to really gauge. Kyle Shanahan’s offense spreads the ball around to ridiculous lengths and (wisely) doesn’t depend on one person to do the heavy lifting all on their own. Unless your name is Julio Jones, the chances of getting the lion’s share of targets is slim unless there’s injury. Marquise Goodwin came close in 2017 before getting concussed.
NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt put together a list of the the top-five rookie wide receivers. No 49ers receivers were on the list, but an honorable mention went to Hurd and Samuel who he projects to combine for 1,000 yards.
When looking at the 49ers receivers, there so much good talent it seems hard to pin one receiver as a 1,000-yard receiver. At least this year. Dante Pettis looks like he could get really close if he manages to stay healthy. We haven’t even brought up Richie James who might not have a job after training camp.
Last year, the group got injured and removed from games and the beneficiary was George Kittle who was peppered with targets and made the most of things with his ridiculous YAC. Kittle is a tight end, however, and given the firepower the 49ers have loaded up on in the offseason, it’s not a bad assumption to think that those totals will go down a significant amount. That’s not to say Kittle won’t have another record setting season, it is saying there’s more around him with health that the 49ers can spread the ball around a bit more. Jimmy Garoppolo throwing again helps also.
The fact remains the 49ers like to spread the ball around; or at least want to. A wide receiver could break out of this group for 1,000 yards and become that true No. 1 people in these parts think the 49ers need. If that happens, great! Like the running backs, however, this seems like a group of interchangeable parts where everyone is going to get their share, but no one is going to walk away with a lion’s share of targets. Unless someone here can be a YAC machine, then quite a few yardage totals will accumulate for these guys, but there won’t be exponential differences. At least by my, fan-writing, guesstimations.
A successful unit seems like multiple 400-700 yard seasons. One receiver getting 1,000 yards, even George Kittle, just doesn’t seem likely. Do you think the 49ers have a 1,000-yard wide receiver for 2019?