The 49ers have already made moves to fill a need at wide receiver this off season. The receiving corps have quickly gone from lacklustre to a formidable line up.

Here’s my assessment of each movement.

Under Contract

Michael Crabtree

Michael Crabtree obviously has talent, but so far he’s not lived up to the hype when he was drafted. He makes for a solid receiver and should be able to compete to be number one on the depth chart. I also have doubts about his character. I hate to question a player who says he is injured, but if he fails to commit during training camp again this year I’ll be very disappointed.

Vernon Davis

Vernon Davis is a beast and I would argue that he was the best receiver on the team last year. He can pressure the safeties and is a force blocking for Frank Gore. Davis’s presence on the field gives nothing away in the balance between run and pass. I hope Davis remains a 49er for a long, long time.

Delanie Walker

On a lot of other teams Delanie Walker would be pushing for the number one tight end spot. Coaches have sung Walker’s praises, particularly in what he allows them to do in terms of more elaborate packages. It’s great to have both Davis and Walker catching passes and blocking for Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter.

Resigned

Ted Ginn Jr.

Ted Ginn Jr hands have been questioned in the past, but he’s worth keeping around for two reasons and both are his speed. Ginn is a potential deep threat whenever he’s on the field, which pins one or two safeties back out of the box, opening up passes underneath as well as the running game. Secondly, field position counts and Ginn can keep the field short with his return skills. I was pleased to here that we get to keep Ginn.

Lost

Josh Morgan

Morgan was emerging as a real receiving threat last year. Once teams had turned more of their attention to Davis and Crabtree, Morgan was able to work effectively and catch a lot of balls. Morgan’s season was ended prematurely by a nasty injury, so it’s a bit of a gamble as to how well he would have returned from that, but I would have liked to see the 49ers be able to retain his services, and I wish him the best in the rest of his career.

New Signings

Randy Moss

Randy Moss is always going to be a formidable receiving threat and rumour has it that he hasn’t lost that much of a step. Hopefully he can still take the top off of the defence and open up more for Davis underneath. My only major concern is his effect in the locker room, but I have faith that Jim Harbaugh has all the right pieces there to keep control.

Mario Manningham

One game away from the superbowl last year and Manningham caught one seventeen yard pass for a touchdown whilst Victor Cruz burnt them time and time again. It was clear that the 49ers were worried about Manningham because no adjustment came to take away Cruz. Manningham should at least compete for the number two spot if not push for number one.

Summary

The best thing about the new signings is that none of them are particularly long term, so if any don’t work out (just like Braylon Edwards last year) then they can be jettisoned without hurting the cap too much. This is a promising start to the off season, and the defence seems to be staying pretty much in tact. My next main concern is the Defensive Line, mostly because even though he’s an absolute beast I wonder how much Justin Smith has left in his tank. I’m optimistic that with his work ethic he’ll continue as before, but just in case I’d like to see the 49ers draft someone in Justin’s image that he can mentor. That should also ensure that Aldon Smith remains effective in years to come.

Roll on the draft!

Advertisements