49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

August 20, 2013
Where things stand at WR after the A.J. Jenkins trade

jonBaldwinL.jpg

A week ago, I wrote an item on where things stood for the 11 wide receivers on the 49ers roster. There's been a bit of news since then, so it makes sense to update the situation.

The 49ers will go into the season with five or six receivers on the active roster. In 2011, the number was five. In 2012, it was six. They also have two additional receivers, Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree, who are expected to come off the physically unable to perform list and onto the 53-man roster at some point this season. That suggests that there might be five receivers on Sept. 8.

Jim Harbaugh on Sunday said that Anquan Boldin, Kyle Williams and Marlon Moore occupy the first three spots. Quinton Patton finally has been cleared to catch passes after a Colt McCoy throw - yes, that surprised me, too - broke his forefinger just before training camp began. The 49ers are eager to see what they have in the fourth-round pick, and it's unlikely he will be cut. That's four receivers.

The fifth has to be Jon Baldwin. Yes, there was a question as to whether A.J. Jenkins, the player the 49ers exchanged for Baldwin, would have made the team. But the 49ers had reached a conclusion about Jenkins - he was not going to help them in the rugged NFC West this year.

Baldwin, on the other hand, is a 6-4, 230-pound mystery at the moment. What's more, the 49ers only have 11 days before they must trim their roster to 53 players. That's not enough time to fully evaluate Baldwin, which means he's likely to make the squad. (Though he may be inactive early in the season). His $1.061 million salary also is fully guaranteed, which is another reason to keep him aboard. That's five receivers.

If they keep six, Austin Collie, Chad Hall and Kassim Osgood all can make good arguments. Collie has been a productive receiver in a good offense in Indianapolis but is not yet 100 percent after missing most of last season with a knee injury.

Hall has been the anti-Jenkins - a workout dynamo who has earned the trust of the quarterbacks because he always gets open. However, he's by far the smallest receiver of the group, and he may be a better practice player than a game-day player.

Osgood, meanwhile, is a big body who brings true value to special teams. Even if he isn't lining up at wide receiver, Osgood could play on all of the coverage units. However, he's 33 and the 49ers must decide whether he's more valuable on special teams than a younger player they could develop.

The others are newcomer Lavelle Hawkins, who had the unfortunate timing of joining the 49ers just as the rest of the receivers were getting healthy, Ricardo Lockette and Chuck Jacobs. Lockette and Jacobs are eligible for the practice squad. Jacobs is more of an unknown quantity than Lockette, who spent last year on the 49ers practice squad. That's why Jacobs probably has a better shot of landing there this year.

- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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