The defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers will open training camp at the end of the month. But before the pads come on and the competition for 53 coveted roster spots begin, 49ers.com will preview the storylines to track for each position group on the team. San Francisco’s emerging group of wide receivers comes into focus next in our “49ers Camp Preview” series.
[ PHOTOS - 49ERS CAMP PREVIEW: WIDE RECEIVERS ]
Manningham began sprinting and cutting on his injured knee but is scheduled behind Williams in the rehab process. Williams was injured before Manningham and was able to participate in individual drills during the team’s mandatory minicamp. Both wideouts will be counted on for downfield production in the regular season, but until they return to full strength, the 49ers will depend on a veteran target acquired in an offseason trade.
RETURNERS: Michael Crabtree (fifth season), Mario Manningham (sixth season), Kyle Williams (fourth season),
With Crabtree on the mend, Boldin’s tenacity and years of experience will be counted on heavily in 2013. Behind Boldin and established receivers Manningham and Williams, the 49ers are looking for a young wideout to emerge in the upcoming season. Second-year wideout A.J. Jenkins continued to show flashes of brilliance in his first full offseason with the 49ers. The former first-round pick turned in highlight-worthy receptions in each minicamp session. In addition, rookie wideout Quinton Patton displayed the play-making ability that made him a fourth-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft. Ricardo Lockette, Chad Hall, Marlon Moore, Kassim Osgood and Chuck Jacobs all turned in impressive receptions in the offseason. As it currently stands, the 49ers have viable candidates to push for a bigger role in 2013.
“We’re excited for the young receivers that we have. Really feel that somebody’s going to emerge there because they have to. And competition will create that. We’ll look forward to watching that.”
-Jim Harbaugh after the announcement of Crabtree's offseason injury.