The 49ers currently enjoy one of the fastest wide receiver groups in the NFL. Returning from last season are Trent Taylor, Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon who all showed potential. They drafted two receivers, Dante Pettis and Richie James this offseason who both have shown tremendous speed and ability in their first preseason game.
Along with a number of other talented receivers, the 49ers coaching staff will undoubtedly have a major headache in determining who should claim a roster spot. It could determine the success of the 49ers 2018 season. Here’s a look at what the 49ers might do for the upcoming year.
When Jimmy Garoppolo became the starting quarterback, Goodwin and Taylor instantly had a connection with him. Garcon was injured for the season and thus was unable to develop a rapport with Garoppolo. With Goodwin blossoming as a pro with the 49ers, it appears he has solidified himself with the team for the foreseeable future.
Pettis was drafted in the second round and possesses supreme punt return ability. He will most certainly be on the opening day roster. While James was just a seventh-round pick, the game-clinching touchdown in the opening preseason game got the crowd’s attention. While a roster spot is not guaranteed, James should get plenty of opportunities to make the team if he can take advantage.
Aldrick Robinson has been in the NFL since 2011 but has never had the most impressive stats. However, he always seems to find a way onto an active roster. He had 260 receiving yards and two touchdowns for the 49ers in 2017. His 13.7 yards per reception is worth noticing in a league dominated by passing.
Victor Bolden Jr. and Kendrick Bourne have limited NFL experience. Bourne had 16 receptions for 257 yards in 2017. His 16.1 yards per reception is a great aspect of his game which could save him a roster spot.
Bolden has not done much in the regular season. His greatest contribution has been in the kick return game during the preseason. He returned a kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown in the 2017 preseason, showing off his elite speed.
He did have 20.8 yards per return in the 2017 season but with Pettis being drafted Bolden needs to further develop his receiving skills if he is to have any hope of making the roster. He’s also facing a four game suspension to start off the 2018 season due to violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing substances (PEDs) policy.
Steven Dunbar did not have the most eye-popping statistics at the University of Houston. In his senior season, though, he had 76 receptions for 1,070 yards with three touchdowns. The undrafted free agent has a steep mountain to climb in order to obtain a roster spot. His receiving skills may save him a spot on the practice squad.
Aaron Burbridge has had very little time on the active roster. He played sparingly in 2016, his rookie season, and was placed on injured reserve the following year. He only has seven receptions for 88 yards in his career. With the 49ers adding new receivers through the draft and free agency since he entered the league, it is a long shot for him to make the team.
Max McCaffrey, the older brother of Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, hasn’t had many opportunities at the professional level. Buried on the depth chart throughout his brief career, he has just a single reception for four yards as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.
He was waived by the Jaguars in the middle of the season and the 49ers claimed him shortly thereafter. He has been on multiple practice squads since entering the league in 2016. The 49ers have had a chance to see what he can do and if they don’t offer him a spot on the practice squad then his career may be over.