It’s no secret that the wide receiver position has been the most talked about this offseason. The San Francisco 49ers let veteran Emmanuel Sanders walk in free agency, and lost No. 1 wideout Deebo Samuel to a Jones fracture during offseason workouts.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch liked rookie Brandon Aiyuk enough to move up in the first-round of the NFL Draft to pick him. The Niners are hoping Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd will be healthy in 2020, and they took a flyer on Jauan Jennings in the seventh-round as well.
Pro Football Focus ranked every NFL team’s wide receivers group, and it’s safe to say they’re not too high on the 49ers’ corps, ranking the unit 25th. PFF praised Samuel for his strong rookie campaign, and mentioned Aiyuk’s potential to be a great fit in Shanahan’s system, and added this:
“The No. 3 spot is wide open, with 2019 third-rounder Jalen Hurd the most intriguing option. He’s a 6-foot-4 former running back who showed some promise last year during the preseason before getting injured. Hurd’s size and running back skills add yet another weapon to the offensive arsenal. Kendrick Bourne is also in the mix, though his last two seasons have been quite the roller-coaster ride — he’s caught 10 touchdowns on 78 catches but also dropped nine catchable targets during the time. Former second-rounder Dante Pettis may be running out of time after a 56.4 overall grade last season, while 2018 seventh-rounder Richie James Jr. adds big-play potential and return ability. The 49ers don’t have the best group on paper, but they’ve fired draft capital at the position for four consecutive years and have a solid group that fits their offensive system.”
The battle for the No. 3 spot is wide open. Bourne had his moments in 2019, but consistency remains an issue. Hurd has the most potential about the receivers PFF mentioned in its description, but it was interesting to see Taylor not mentioned.
PFF has the Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons as the top-three in the league, while the NFC West teams shake out like this: Arizona Cardinals (8), Seattle Seahawks (14) and Los Angeles Rams (17). The only NFC team ranked lower than San Francisco is Washington.
Looking at the teams placed just ahead of the Niners, it stands out that each has a bonafide No. 1 receiver, something the 49ers are hoping Samuel will develop into. The Minnesota Vikings have Adam Thielen, T.Y. Hilton is on the Indianapolis Colts, while the Green Bay Packers are led by Devante Adams. Two squads whose ranking I don’t agree with are the New York Giants (19), and Chicago Bears (20).
Do you agree with PFF’s rankings? Where would you place the 49ers’ receiving group among the NFL?
On to some links:
The 49ers are full of young talent that have the potential to become very good NFL players. NFL.com’s Marc Sessler lists his predictions for each NFC teams’ potential first-time Pro Bowlers, and for the Niners, he goes to the secondary.
San Francisco’s offense took a giant leap last season, ranking in the top-10 of the entire league. Fansided’s Peter Panacy looks at five burning questions facing the unit going into 2020.
Quarterback Joe Montana will always be beloved for his dominant run with the 49ers. The legendary QB opened up about his career, playing in the Superdome, and who was his favorite teammates during a Q and A alongside Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan. (h/t Sportscasting.com)
Say it ain’t so, Joe! That line actually doesn’t have anything to do with the story, but I just felt like using it. The LA Times reports on former 49er Joe Staley selling his Menlo Park, California home for a pretty penny.
How great would it be to have the Bosa brothers wreaking havoc alongside each other on the Niners’ defensive line? As much as we would love to see it, NBC Bay Area’s Marcus White says the scenario seems pretty far-fetched from becoming a reality.
What are some mistakes the Niners made this offseason? Fansided’s Pancacy shares his thoughts on the three biggest misses by Lynch and co.