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The San Francisco 49ers have a plethora of wide receivers with various skill-sets. From blazing speed to sure handed pass catchers, the Niners find themselves fortunate enough to have the luxury of choosing the best of both worlds. Playing a position that requires speed, agility, and strength, I have broken down which wide receivers excels the best in certain areas, including catching, blocking, and route-running. And despite the various wide receiver positions, such as split-end (X), flanker (Z), and slot (Y), all the 49ers wide receivers top their peers in some capacity. So without further ado, here are my top Niners receivers and what they do best:
Note: We omitted WR Michael Crabtree and WR Mario Manningham as we wanted to provide an article based on who’s relatively healthy.
Route Running: WR Anquan Boldin
The 10-year veteran continues to be the rock as his route-running is unparalleled. Known to find soft spots in zone while making the tough catch in traffic, Boldin’s ability to get open and separate from defensive backs is invaluable. Even WR Quinton Patton has taken notes, as he told us that Boldin helped him with getting off the line, on some of his releases.
Hands: WR Anquan Boldin
There is no question that Boldin has some of the best hands in the NFL. His ability to fight for the ball at it’s highest point and swallow the ball with his paws, makes Boldin the unanimous choice. Sure Crabtree has great hands as well, but compared to Boldin it’s a no-brainer.
Blocking: WR Anquan Boldin
Not only is Boldin a physical freak, but he uses his big body frame to his advantage. Known for his aggressive style of play, Boldin has no hesitation when it comes to springing his teammates for extra yards.
Deep threat: WR Marlon Moore
After watching this kid in training camp, Moore is looking like a better version of WR Ted Ginn Jr. Both players played for the Miami Dolphins early in their careers, but the difference between the two is Moore possesses better hands, and a higher ceiling at the wide receiver position. In addition, Moore is not afraid to attack the ball at it’s highest point, making him a perfect red zone option on fade-routes.
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Possession Receiver: WR Kyle Williams
By far the best slot receiver the 49ers have on their roster, Williams speed, agility, and elusiveness will show during the 49ers first half of the season. He runs crisp routes with the ability to get open quickly, making him a perfect compliment to Boldin. A smart player that knows the playbook, Williams has flourished since Greg Roman took over as offensive coordinator, evident by 24 of his 34 receptions resulting in first-downs.
Versatility: WR Kassim Osgood
This was a tough choice between Lockette and Osgood but the former special-teams Pro Bowl talent gets the nod, due to Lockette being released today. Osgood is a very versatile player, that can play other positions seamlessly. From gunner to a special-teams ace on coverage units, Osgood has the speed and resume to back up his play.
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Smarts/Football IQ: WR Anquan Boldin
You don’t play 10 years in the NFL based on talent alone, making Boldin the obvious choice. His work ethic, determination, and attention to detail is what makes him an offensive stud. Anyone that’s been around Boldin understands his “perfectionist” attitude, and that’s what makes him the player he is today. A player that does not say much to the media, Boldin is very focused and 100% committed to football day in and day out. From film-study to the weight room, Boldin’s work ethic rivals that of QB Colin Kaepernick’s.
Potential/Breakout Player: WR Quinton Patton
Aside from TE Vernon Davis, Patton is by far my favorite player in the NFL. That’s right NFL. A player that I predicted to be drafted by the San Francisco 49ers back in February, Patton should be a Pro-Bowl talent in the next year or two. In addition to our exclusive interview with him, in which I nicknamed him “7-11,” Patton Boy laughed/chuckled and said “stay tuned.” Not to be misunderstood, Patton is by no means a cocky player, as he says he’s just a “ball player.” A modest answer but one that I have the ultimate respect for. Just like I predicted the Kaepernick controversy before the Chicago Bears game took place, believe me when I say Patton will turn some heads in 2013 and be a draft day steal!
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