Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
The 49ers enter the 2019 season with a combination of optimism and skepticism. Questions abound on the future of Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan, while the newer additions are getting plenty of positive coverage themselves.
One of those positives appears to be the receiving corps. While there’s no clear WR1 on the roster, rest assured it also has loads of depth. We know about George Kittle, one of the absolute best tight ends in the league, but the 49ers keeping seven receivers on the roster does mean something.
As it stands the wide receiver room consists of starters Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis, Kendrick Bourne, Richie James, Trent Taylor, Deebo Samuel, and Jalen Hurd.
The speedy track star Goodwin has been really good in San Francisco when healthy, and unfortunately the availability was an issue in 2018 as he missed five games. So I have my reservations as to whether he remains a starting wide receiver in 2019, but he does bring quality to the group.
Dante Pettis was one of my favorite rookies from 2018. He flashed absolute brilliance against man and press last season, and his quick feet and route breaks remind me of a Bay Area Doug Baldwin. There were concerns for him for his no show in the preseason, but I think he should be fine this season, and that’s indicated by his starting spot.
Kendrick Bourne has been decent whenever he’s gotten the ball, but he doesn’t possess a spectacular skill set. Richie James flashed at times last season, but he’s also more of an unknown as he had a limited sample size in his rookie season. Trent Taylor has also flashed in the slot, but drops have blemished his potential.
Then we have rookies Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd, drafted in back-to-back rounds respectfully. As an individual prospect I thought Samuel was more of a guy that could create in space instead of against single coverage, but his fit in San Francisco is perfect. He has the speed and elusiveness to be used not only as a dangerous YAC threat, but also as a gadget option on end arounds and jet sweeps.
As for Hurd, who has been hampered with injuries before the season starts, he could very well be in line to replace Taylor as the team’s slot receiver. The running back turned receiver made a position switch after transferring from Tennessee to Baylor, so here’s to keeping a close eye on his progress.
With that said, what are my expectations for this group? Well, if anyone is getting 1,000 receiving yards, the safest bets are Goodwin and Pettis. Depending on the development of Deebo Samuel he should have a pretty decent rookie season statistically. I expect guys like James, Bourne and Taylor to be in the back of the pack, while someone like Hurd finishes fourth in the WR room in receiving stats.
To be honest I’m not 100% positive that another receiver will have 1,000 yards for the 49ers aside from George Kittle, who himself might regress but still have a great season. There’s so many options for this receiving corps and there’s plenty of unique skill sets that are being brought in as well.
Ultimately, this should be a really good group in 2019 depending on the availability of Jimmy Garoppolo. The race for WR1 is virtually unknown, but this is a talented, young receiving corps that should grab some addition both on tape and in fantasy leagues.
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