49ers to watch: No. 3 -- Chris Owusu

49ers to watch: No. 3 -- Chris Owusu
August 30, 2012, 7:20 pm
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Editor's note: This is the third part in a series that spotlights five 49ers players to watch in the team's final exhibition game Thursday, 7 p.m. (KCBW-TV), vs. the San Diego Chargers at Candlestick Park.

No. 5 -- WR Nathan PalmerNo. 4 -- CB Tramaine Brock
No. 3 -- WR Chris Owusu
Yes, it's a big game for Nathan Palmer (see Five 49ers to watch: 5. Nathan Palmer). This might also be the last time we see first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins for a while.But the young wide receiver with the most to gain Thursday night is Chris Owusu. He is trying to create separation from his concussion history, which scared off 32 teams from selecting him in the draft.He did a good job in training camp, but his opportunities within a crowded group of 49ers wideouts have been few and far between.Owusu has been privately pining for an opportunity to return kickoffs. Even coach Jim Harbaugh did not have an explanation recently why one of the top return men in Pac-12 history was not even listed on the 49ers depth chart as a kick returner.Finally, Owusu found himself back deep against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. But in the mile-high air, every kickoff in the game resulted in a touchback. So, perhaps, Owusu will get his opportunity to return kickoffs Thursday night against the Chargers."I try to let them know that I want to contribute in any way I can on special teams and part of what I can help the team with is returning kicks," Owusu told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I think I do that well. It's great to go out there and get an opportunity to do that."Owusu is in an interesting position. If he gets extended action at receiver and shows big-play ability in the return game, he could attract attention from teams that passed on him during the draft.Even if he clears waivers, Owusu might find that the 49ers are not his only practice-squad option.The 49ers have a lot of depth at wide receiver, so it might not be a slam dunk that Owusu would accept their offer to return on the practice squad. After all, some other team might offer him a better opportunity.

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