At wide receiver, Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin are both productive veterans who will play the majority of the snaps this upcoming year, however, each could be in their final season with the team. Crabtree’s contract is up after 2014, and Boldin’s salary spikes significantly in year two, making him a candidate to be cut.
The 49ers saw firsthand what would happen if they were without one of their two starting wideouts, as Crabtree missed 12 games in 2013 with an Achilles injury. In his absence, the team’s passing attack sputtered as they could not find suitable replacement. While Boldin did his part with 85 receptions, Kyle Williams, Mario Manningham, Quinton Patton, Marlon Moore, Jonathan Baldwin and Kassim Osgood combined for 29 catches and no touchdowns.
The 49ers attempted to address the receiver position in the 2012 draft by selecting A.J. Jenkins, but he was unable to make a dent on roster and was traded before the 2013 season began for Baldwin.
San Francisco will not have the luxury of missing on a wideout again, as doing so may force them to overpay in free agency for Crabtree or another replacement. The good news for the 49ers is that there are multiple options in a deep receiving class in 2014. The question is, can the team find the right fit?
With six picks in the first three rounds, the 49ers have the ammunition to make trades and maneuver to get the players they covet. They could make a big splash and move up in the first round to select Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans, the two top prospects at the position. They could also wait until the second round to address the situation where a wideouts like Donte Moncrief or Davante Adams could be available.
Only time will tell what sort of plan the 49ers have in mind to address the receiver position, but another misstep could hurt the organization moving forward and possibly stunt the development of quarterback Colin Kaepernick.