As you know the San Francisco 49ers once again elected to pass up on a tier No. 1 wide-receiver in a very deep wide-receiver draft class for the second consecutive season. A dire need for the team as WR Anquan Boldin is scheduled to become an unrestricted free-agent at season’s end, the need for a No. 1 wide-receiver was there.
However, 49ers GM Trent Baalke has since decided to roll the dice on two players he drafted in the fourth-round in WR Quinton Patton (2013) and WR Bruce Ellington (2014) and that is the camp battle I am most intrigued with this off-season.
Although Patton has yet to have a breakout season as he only played in 10 games in his first two NFL seasons — this year should be different as he fights with Ellington for the No. 3 wide-receiver role.
Coming out of the 2013 NFL Draft, I believed that Patton had arguably the best combination of hands, agility and speed. And while he does catch balls away from his body it’s his willingness to go across the middle that should have Forever Faithful excited. Not to mention, Patton’s downfield blocking is also an added bonus, I can’t help but think that Patton will see plenty of targets from QB Colin Kaepernick as the two are very close friends with each other while being on the same page. The nickname I gave back in 2013, as I nicknamed Patton 7-11, look for that connection to blossom this season.
Fact: #49ers WR Bruce Ellington scores a TD 1 out of every 4 times he touches the ball. (2 receiving/ 1 rushing) 12 touches total.
— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) May 29, 2015
But not to be outdone is the diminutive yet shifty Ellington. I have to be honest with you as I thought Ellington would have at least 40 catches his rookie season but as it turned out that did not happen as he only made six receptions although two were touchdowns. If Ellington can prove he can be a threat on digs, quick-outs, and slants that should benefit the offense greatly as they try and move the chains.
A task easier said than done as the running game will need to set the tone first, Ellington should see his fair share of targets as Kaepernick should have a quicker release after working with former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner.
With the 49ers looking to shore up their receiving core, it will ultimately come down to Patton and Ellington at No. 3, as one of those players will need to fill the shoes left by WR Stevie Johnson.