The San Francisco 49ers had one of their most successful seasons in a decade. Record-wise, accomplishments-wise, and laying the base for the organization’s future. The team had plenty of success despite missing some critical pieces on the roster. If you polled the beat writers in August who would lead the team in receptions during the regular season, the answer would have unanimously been wide receiver, Trent Taylor. Honestly, you could have made a strong argument that the two best receiving threats during training camp were Taylor and Jalen Hurd—which is why many are optimistic about the 49ers offense moving forward.
Taylor has had five surgeries on his right foot, which ultimately led him to miss the season. He had a broken foot that had a screw in it during the preseason. The screw didn’t work, so there was a second screw inserted, which led to an infection and complications. That led to an operation to remove both screws. It sounds like a whole lot of bad luck for Taylor. Taylor has been in a walking boot for a few months. During the open locker room media session on Wednesday, Taylor said he’s going to burn the boot forever. He also said he expects to be medically cleared sooner than later. The hope is the clearance comes as soon as next week so Taylor can ramp up his rehab and fully participate in the 49ers offseason program, and eventually training camp.
Taylor may not have put up big numbers as a rookie, but he was open. You could see during 2018 he wasn’t fully recovered from his injuries. That was not the case during the summer of 2019, where Taylor, not George Kittle, was the player Jimmy Garoppolo leaned on when the offense needed to convert on third down. I’m not saying Taylor will turn into Wes Welker and morph the offense into this unstoppable force on money downs. What I’m saying is your quarterback will improve and play with more confidence if he trusts the receivers he’s throwing to. There’s a rapport between Garoppolo and Taylor that we saw all August. Yes, it’s training camp. Yes, every rep matters.
The worry is what if this last surgery takes away from Taylor’s quickness? What if Taylor has another setback? That has to be factored in when the front office is deciding on Emmanuel Sanders. Taylor and Hurd are the future at the wide receiver position for the 49ers. They’re both young, talented, and give you two very different looks. Taylor is a shifty wideout that can catch 90 passes with ease. Hurd is a bigger, jump ball type of wideout that flourishes after the catch—a lot like the tight end that has a Netflix documentary. It’ll be an interesting offseason in regards to who sticks around. Getting key players like Taylor, Hurd, D.J. Jones, Ronald Blair, and others back from injury is equally as important for the 49er’s future.