Matt Maiocco's 49ers Breakdown: Receivers
Anquan Boldin had 65 catches for 921 yards and four touchdowns for the Super Bowl-champion Ravens last year. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Editor's note: Insider Matt Maiocco will be providing position-by-position breakdowns each day leading up to 49ers training camp. The rookies are scheduled to report on July 19, with the veterans scheduled to follow on July 24. Today Matt focuses on the wide receivers.
Who they have: Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams, A.J. Jenkins, Quinton Patton, Ricardo Lockette, Chad Hall, Marlon Moore, Kassim Osgood, Chuck Jacobs, Charly Martin
Who they lost: Randy Moss, Ted Ginn
Looking back: The 49ers broke camp with six wide receivers a year ago. They finished the season with five receivers after Williams and Manningham sustained season-ending knee injuries and Hall was promoted to the 53-man roster. Crabtree had 85 receptions for 1,105 yards and nine touchdown for his best NFL season. His production took off after Colin Kaepernick replaced Alex Smith at quarterback. Manningham, who played in only 12 games, was the 49ers' second-leading wide receiver with 42 receptions. Williams saw action as the 49ers' No. 3 receiver until his season came to an end. Moss, who came back from a one-year retirement, was not much of a factor in the offense even after the injuries prompted his move into the starting lineup. Ginn and Jenkins contributed nothing.
Overall outlook: Crabtree sustained a torn Achilles tendon during a May 21 workout. He will be placed on injured reserve with a designated return. Crabtree might miss the first 10 to 12 regular season games. The 49ers expect him to be back in action before the end of the year, but nobody knows how effective he can be upon his return. Fortunately for the 49ers, they acquired veteran Boldin, who was the leader in catches and receiving yards last season for the Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens. Boldin should immediately step into a prominent role in the 49ers' offense. After Boldin, it's anybody's guess how the playing time at wide receiver will shake out. Williams should be available at the beginning of camp. Manningham believes he can be ready for the regular season. The 49ers might take a more cautious approach to Manningham's rehab, which means he might not be ready for Week 1. Jenkins had a good offseason program, and he appears to enter training camp with a slight lead over Patton and Lockette -- the others who lined up at split end in Crabtree's absence. As long as the 49ers avoid injuries and the decision-makers believe some of the young receivers will step up, there's no reason for the club to add a veteran free agent to the mix.
Camp competition: Williams, Jenkins, Patton and Lockette will battle it out to get onto the field, and Manningham will jump into the competition once he is cleared to play. But the 49ers' depth at this position does not end there. Hall, Moore, Osgood and Martin all have some NFL experience on their resumes. Their chances of sticking on the 53-man roster will likely be contingent on special teams. In any event, there will be competition for every spot among the wide receivers behind Boldin.
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