At least one media source is predicting significant changes on the depth chart at wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers in 2014.
Bill Williamson of ESPN.com predicts there’s a “strong chance” the 49ers use their first round pick on a wide receiver.
Our Robert Carter went another direction as part of a mock draft of the first round at FanSided, predicting the 30th pick would be used on Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy.
However, there is no question wide receiver was a position of concern in 2013, particularly with Michael Crabtree out with an Achilles injury for more than half the season.
Anquan Boldin was the 49ers’ leading receiver with 85 catches for 1,179 yards and seven touchdowns. Crabtree notched 19 catches for 284 yards and a score in the five games he played after returning from injury.
The rest of the wide receivers used by San Francisco in 2013, however, combined to catch just 29 balls for 286 yards and no touchdowns. That includes the contributions of Kyle Williams, since released, (12 catches, 113 yards), Mario Manningham (nine catches, 85 yards), Quinton Patton (three catches, 34 yards), Jonathan Baldwin (three catches, 28 yards), Kassim Osgood (one catch, 17 yards) and Marlon Moore (one catch, six yards).
Boldin will be a free agent, but it’s expected the 49ers will go to great lengths to keep him. Crabtree should be 100 percent next season.
But as for the rest of the bunch, Patton missed most of the season with a broken foot, but has potential. Baldwin is probably gone—he was acquired from Kansas City for another first-round draft pick that didn’t measure up to expectations in A.J. Jenkins.
Osgood is a terrific special teams player that will likely never have a significant impact on offense. Manningham will be a free agent and is expected to be allowed to walk—in two seasons with the 49ers he has had major knee issues.