San Francisco 49ers: Who Will Be the Number Three Receiver?

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Sep 8, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson (81) makes a diving catch in the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Each player poses a different argument for why they deserve to play the majority of the minutes as the number three receiver for the 49ers. Simpson boasts experience, Ellington is young and can build confidence as a receiver from his time as a return specialist, and Patton has a lot of potential, a lot of time to make up for, and a lot to prove.

If the 49ers want an experienced third receiver alongside Boldin and Smith, Simpson is obviously the right choice. Despite his off-the-field issues, he’s a proven receiver in the NFL, and his speed could make the 49ers’ offense more versatile, given Smith’s ability to act as a deep threat and Boldin’s overall physicality and strength.

If the 49ers want to take a slightly different, younger approach, they can choose between Ellington and Patton. Both players have potential, but neither player has proven that they can be a consistent threat yet, as neither has received consistent playing time.

Should the 49ers take a chance on a younger player, or should the 49ers pick the veteran and go with Simpson?

The 49ers could really go either way, but it’s quite possible that they leave Ellington in more of a return specialist role and somehow split time at the third receiver spot between Simpson and Patton. Simpson gets the edge over Patton though, because of Patton’s injury history and his extremely small sample size of games.

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