After Michael Crabtree went down, the San Francisco 49ers looked extremely thin at wide receiver. However, given the team’s recent acquisitions, the crimson and gold now boast great depth at the position, leaving several players to battle for a spot on the roster.
With the trade acquisition of Jonathan Baldwin from the Kansas City Chiefs, the 49ers made a statement about both the now departed A.J. Jenkins and the direction this team wants to go.
Jenkins was beyond a disappointment. In fact, you have to go back almost three decades to find a first round pick that didn’t make it to a second season with the team that drafted them. Mutters of lack of focus, energy and understanding of the system floated around the locker room anonymously for weeks. These issues combined with Jenkins’ complete lack of production made it easy for the team to ship him off to KC.
Baldwin was the Chiefs’ first round pick in 2011 but never became the player the team thought he would be. He is big, physical and possesses good hands — a perfect fit for this offense. What Baldwin lacked with the Chiefs was a quarterback and a consistent offensive coordinator.
With the 49ers, he will have a fresh start with a star quarterback in an established system. Look for Baldwin to have a breakout year opposite of Anquan Boldin.
With Boldin, Kyle Williams, Quinton Patton and Marlon Moore almost assured of roster spots, that leaves Austin Collie, Ricardo Lockette and LaVelle Hawkins to battle for the sixth spot. Unless one of them really impresses, all three may be cut before Week 1.
General Manager Trent Baalke has done a great job plugging the holes left by injury at the wideout position. The combination of Jim Harbugh and Baalke look to be a force to reckon with for many years to come.