ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the San Francisco 49ers intend to sign both wide receivers Tavon Austin and J.J. Nelson, who worked out with the team Friday morning. These signings will give the 49ers 10 healthy wideouts as the team transitions to padded practices. This is likely an indicator that Deebo Samuel will miss the beginning of the season. How much time Samuel misses is still to be determined, and general manager John Lynch said the team would have a better idea once practices begin. Hopefully, we get an update on Samuel’s progress soon.
Both Austin and Nelson are speedsters. Coming out of the combine, they both ran in the 4.3’s for their 40-yard dashes. Austin, in the right role, can be a threat. Dallas used him on deep routes last season, and it was evident that’s wasn’t Austin’s strengths. He’s a guy that can work underneath and get yards after the catch. He’s also great in a “gadget” role on end-arounds and jet sweeps, so he’s a fit in San Francisco.
Nelson is more of a true deep threat, ala Travis Benjamin. If anything, it will allow the offensive staff to test out, throwing more vertical routes in practice. I’d say Austin has a better chance to make the roster, though neither should be considered locks at this point.
Here are the 49ers healthy receivers heading into padded practices: