When Vernon Davis left Sunday's game in the second quarter, the 49ers badly could have used a pass catcher big enough to break jams at the line of scrimmage and fast enough to put pressure on safeties deep down field.
They have a player with those exact characteristics. But receiver Jon Baldwin played only three snaps against the Panthers and, as has been the case in seven of nine games this year, didn't have a single catch. The 49ers may be having the same frustrations with Baldwin that the Chiefs, who exchanged Baldwin for A.J. Jenkins in August, had with their former first-round pick.
But at least Baldwin had some semblance of production in Kansas City. Last year he caught 20 passes for 325 yards and a touchdown. He played 542 snaps on offense in 2012. This year he's on pace for 130 snaps. He has three catches for 28 yards. It's hard to argue that the receiver who's been ahead of Baldwin on the depth chart, Kyle Williams, has been better and more productive. The 49ers, after all, cut Williams this week.
Of course, the Chiefs are getting next to nothing out of Jenkins, too. He's been active every game this season and has one catch for six yards, which came in Week 3. He hasn't been targeted in the passing game since Week 6. Jenkins is on pace for 149 snaps this season.
Jon Baldwin's season
Week 1: (not active)
Week 2: (not active)
Week 3: (not active)
Week 4: 16 snaps, 2 catches, 19 yards
Week 5: 23 snaps, 0 catches
Week 6: 18 snaps, 1 catch, nine yards
Week 7: 13 snaps, 0 catches
Week 8: (not active)
Week 10: 3 snaps, 0 catches
-- Matt Barrows