Image Credit: Associated Press
It was a bit surprising when the 49ers went back-to-back wide receivers in this year’s draft, but considering the fact the only viable receiver they had last season was their tight end it actually makes a lot of sense. Last season George Kittle outproduced Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, and Trent Taylor combined. Those four wide receivers also missed a combined total of 19 games. It has been well documented by not only me but the rest of the NFL how little the 49ers’ wide receiver corps has produced in the last five years. So naturally something has to change for the Red and Gold. In an era of the NFL where the rules favor the passing attack, you need something to attack with.
It’s difficult to say whether the 49ers receivers got better with the addition of Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd. They certainly got younger. The team moved on from almost 33-year-old Garçon in favor of the new rookies. But most of the same players are still there from last season. At least this year I feel like Hurd will be more of a depth piece as he gets acclimated to the new system; so, the core group of Pettis, Goodwin, and Taylor will still get the majority of the reps. Though I can imagine Samuel makes his way into the starting lineup sometime this season, I am not expecting a lot from the rookies because very few first-year wide receivers make an instant impact on a team.
The key component in wondering if the receiving corps is better this season is: can they stay healthy for the entire season? Even taking Garçon out of them mix the top three guys still missed a total of 11 games. The 49ers cannot compete if their group of wide outs are going to miss that many games. We all love Stone Cold Kittle, but as good as he is, he can’t do it all.
If Goodwin, Pettis, and Taylor are all healthy for 16 games, then yes, the wide receiver group will be better in 2019. Then the 49ers will have Samuel and Hurd waiting and learning the offense and will be the future of the franchise. But if they are in and out of the lineup, this group will be no better than it was last season and it will be another long year for the Faithful.
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