Williams faces struggle to earn 49ers roster spot

Williams faces struggle to earn 49ers roster spot
April 14, 2012, 3:50 pm
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It's not going to be easy for Kyle Williams to make the team.Right now, he's in decent shape. But if the 49ers add a wide receiver within the first four rounds, the task becomes very difficult.In a Friday post that told of four pass-catchers who might be available for the 49ers with the No. 30 overall selection, it was written that Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Randy Moss and Ted Ginn are the 49ers' top four receivers.MAIOCCO: 49ers' pass-catching options at No. 30
That statement inspired a comment from afimisfits89 wondering why I listed Ginn, and not Williams, as the No. 4 receiver.The 49ers are rarely going to send four wide receivers onto the field during the course of a game. That's because tight end Vernon Davis never comes off the field, and the 49ers always figure to have either Frank Gore or Kendall Hunter in the huddle on third downs.So that means the No. 4 receiver spot is likely to be the 49ers' return specialist. And the 49ers' return specialist is Ted Ginn.Ginn went onto the free-agent market in hopes of finding more playing time as a wide receiver. When he did not find a team willing to find an expanded role for him on offense, he returned to the 49ers on a one-year contract.Ginn has been steady -- and, at times, spectacular -- as a return man. Wiliams' two turnovers in the NFC championship game proved costly. But his diving catch of a punt in the first half of that game was equally troubling because it brought his decision-making into doubt.
It's difficult to imagine the 49ers would put Williams in a position to return punts again in a pressurized situation.Williams does have skills as a slot receiver, no doubt. But is he good enough to win play time over the current group of receivers? Right now, he's the No. 5 receiver. The 49ers are likely to add a quality receiver in the draft, too, which would likely bump him to No. 6.
The 49ers gave no guaranteed money to Moss, so it's not a given that the veteran will be around when the team breaks camp. If Moss has the desire to play after unretiring -- and he still has his physical tools -- it should make for good better competition.And it will also make Williams' spot on the team tenuous.

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