Losing Michael Crabtree to injury is a devastating blow for the San Francisco 49ers. He became the true number one wide receiver for them last year. Colin Kaepernick seemed to have chemistry with Crabtree right away.
However, Anquan Boldin can come in and help ease the pain of losing Crabtree.
Boldin and Crabtree are very similar receivers. They both are what we call “hungry” receivers. Ironically, they finished first and second in the NFL when it came to average yards after the catch (YAC) from the slot position.
These two receivers have a strong and sturdy frame that is meant to absorb and deliver punishment when going across the middle. Crabtree showed this quality in the Super Bowl when he took on two big hits and bounced off of them before he scored a crucial touchdown.
Kaepernick was asked which receiver has he made the most strides with during OTAs recently.
He quickly responded, “Anquan. In a little bit of time with him, we have made huge strides.”
The timing between these two will be very important. Boldin will, in essence, replace Crabtree in the slot. He will be a player that Kaepernick will look to especially in third down situations.
The 49ers’ offense will be new for Boldin to learn but as he said, he’s been in the NFL for eleven years. When asked what the most difficult part of the transition to the 49ers has been, he pointed out how he has ran a lot of the routes before, but the play was just called a different name.
Another overlooked similarity between Crabtree and Boldin is their ability to help out in the running game. Neither of these guys are afraid to get involved with their blocking assignments, which will help spring long runs.
The playoffs last year showed how Boldin can put a team on his back and lead them to better things. He was the go-to receiver for Joe Flacco. Down the stretch he was the man for the Baltimore Ravens, and will provide the same role for the 49ers.