Thanks to a number of injuries before the preseason even gets underway, the San Francisco 49ers have a lot of holes to fill at receiver. Michael Crabtree is out with a torn Achilles, while Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams are recovering from torn ACLs. All of a sudden, the defending NFC Champions are looking for answers when it comes to guys quarterback Colin Kaepernick can throw the ball to. In fact, it has become one of the most intriguing storylines around training camp in the NFL.
Anquan Boldin appears to be that lone veteran who is ready to step up and contribute right away. Although this is his first season in the Bay Area, he has taken a leadership role already. It also helps that he is recently coming off of a Super Bowl championship, so he knows how to get things done in pressure situations. From a fantasy football perspective, the added responsibility should be good for his numbers.
After that, things get a bit murky. The 49ers took Quinton Patton in the 2013 NFL Draft, but they were thinking that he would simply add depth to the team. Now, thanks to the continued struggled of AJ Jenkins, he could very well find himself starting in week one. In fact the 49ers have traded Jenkins for another former first round pick who has continued to struggle, Jon Baldwin. It will be interesting to see if he can turn things around with a change of scenery.
The 49ers have picked up two other receivers to compete for time, although neither one of them figures to be a long-term solution. Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins both have some experience that should help them ease right into the situation, but it will still be a challenge for Kaepernick to develop a relationship so quickly with these guys.
Obviously, the 49ers are strong enough at other positions to still excel in 2013. However, the wide receiver questions need to be answered if they have any hope for another Super Bowl run. Their depth will really be tested overall, so all they can hope for is that they grind and survive.
This was the first guest post by Barney Greene, thank you for your contributions!
[Photo Credit: BayAreaSportsGuy.com]