Wide receiver Isaac Bruce is not the player he once was in his glory days but he can still get it done and make the big plays. On Wednesday the 49ers learned from Bruce that he will return for his 16th NFL season and his second with the Red and Gold. Bruce lead the 49ers in receptions (61), yards (835) and touchdowns (7) last season and will earn $1.5 million this season. Even though Bruce will turn 37 by the middle of the season his leadership and experience could be cited as the only reason the 49ers wanted him to return. Before Bruce decided to return, the 49ers were leaning on a wide receiver depth chart that is young with not a lot of experience. Josh Morgan, Dominique Zeigler, and Jason Hill played well last year in limited roles and they should gain valuable experience with Bruce leading the way again for the young receivers. Veteran Arnaz Battle and newly signed Brandon Jones fill out the rest of the WR depth chart. Expect a wide open competition for the two starting slots at wide receiver.
This week the 49ers front office has filled two holes they needed to fix. Offensive tackle Marvel Smith signed with the Niners this week and is expected to start. Bruce coming back gives the wide receiver position proven experience. Both the tackle and wide receiver positions were rumored to be needs the Niners might use their 10th pick in the draft on. This still may be the case however I expect Smith to start and the front office seems content to see what the young wide receivers are capable of doing. I have always lobbied for a wide receiver to be drafted and I still stand by that. The odds of a 10th round pick becoming a reliable and consistent receiver is better than relying on Morgan, Zeigler or Hill becoming great receivers.