Anquan Boldin is scheduled to be the newest member of the San Francisco 49ers. In exchange for the ninth-year wideout, the 49ers only had to surrender a sixth-round pick in April’s NFL Draft to the Baltimore Ravens.
By adding another veteran to the roster, San Francisco is clearly making moves to win now. Fresh off a Super Bowl victory against his new team, Boldin will be seeking another trip back.
Even at age 32, the former Florida State Seminole has shown that he can still snag those 50-50 balls and run after the catch. Last season he had 65 catches for 921 yards and four touchdowns. In the playoffs, he came up with a number of clutch receptions to go along with four scores. Boldin is also an exceptional run blocker.
While he should help the 49ers offense as a whole, their young pass catchers will look to gain the most by working beside him. Michael Crabtree thrived last season, but having a veteran like Randy Moss on the sidelines might have played a role in his development. Based off of Boldin’s work ethic and professionalism, Crabtree’s play can only go up.
However, the wideout who aims to take the biggest leap forward is A.J. Jenkins. Despite being the 49ers’ first-round pick last year, he failed to record a single reception. With Moss leaving due to free agency and question marks surrounding the health of Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams, Jenkins immediately finds himself in a greater role entering his sophomore campaign.
A winner of the 2003 Rookie of the Year Award, three-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion, Boldin has carved out well-decorated resume. Jenkins may not live up to that list of accomplishments, but if the veteran can bring out some of his natural talent, San Francisco’s passing attack will be even more devastating for opposing secondaries to cover.
In August, Jim Harbaugh stated that Jenkins “is going to be an outstanding football player.” He may have changed his tune after witnessing an empty 2012 season, but the 23-year-old gets another shot to prove his coach right. Hopefully a full offseason in conjunction with Boldin’s mentoring, we’ll get to see why the 49ers valued the Illinois product.
During his time in the league, Boldin helped nurture the growth of his receiving counterparts, most notably Larry Fitzgerald and Torrey Smith. Fitzgerald has established himself as a top wideout, while Smith is becoming one of the NFL’s premier deep threats. Both wideouts have an abundance of talent, but who knows how far they would have gotten if they never had Boldin as a teammate.
Given Boldin’s track record, he’ll strive to make the same impact on the 49ers’ young receivers.
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