Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Collie Should Start at Receiver for the 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers may have eleven healthy receivers on their roster, but they have a glaring hole opposite of Anquan Boldin. With some players with immense potential not stepping up, it is time for the 49ers to start injury prone Austin Collie at the receiver spot.

Currently, Collie is buried on the depth chart due to him signing just a week ago, but in his first week with the Niners he has impressed. Yesterday, Collie was one of the more effective 49ers on the field and caught two touchdowns in the red zone, a combination of Boldin, Collie, Vernon Davis and a running back of your choice could be deadly in the red zone for the Niners.

Collie does not come without baggage though, he was out of the league due to several concussions and a torn patella tendon in his knee. When healthy, Collie is a quarterbacks dream. He catches 70% of the balls thrown his way and he is a first down machine. With Michael Crabtree optimistically out until Thanksgiving, the Niners need players that can convert on third down, Crabtree’s bread and butter. With Boldin and Collie the Niners would have two of the better third down specialists for Colin Kaepernick.

For Collie and Boldin — two players not fleet of foot — to work, the Niners would need Davis to step up as the deep threat in the offense. The player that “takes the top off the defense”. Reports are that Kaepernick and Davis have been building a strong rapport and that Davis is almost uncoverable on deep routes in practice.

Expect Collie to play a lot more in the second preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs and with A.J. Jenkins and Ricardo Lockette not stepping up at the receiver position, it is an opportune time for Collie (only 27 years old) to take the starting receiver position from the young guys.

When Crabtree and Mario Manningham return, it may be a different story, but right now Collie gives the 49ers the best chance to win games especially early in the season when they have a brutal start.

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  • mauiblizzard

    Collie has been a beast when on the field. Theres no question that when healthy, he can produce. I will even go so far to say that with both players healthy, Id start Collie over Crabtree. Yes you read that right. The numbers don’t lie. Look at the numbers. Yes Collie had Peyton throwin him passes, but the guy has mad skills at the slot receiver position. Look how quickly he earned the trust of Manning. As a rookie, he was already getting a ton of targets from Peyton. WHEN HEALTHY*, he has been more consistant, more reliable and overall better receiver than Crabtree. That’s being said, I believe Collie is one nasty concussion away from a forced retirement. He has had his bell rung too many times, in too short of a timeframe. And we are talkin about serious head collisions. This guy could be putting his life/future on the line if he takes even a couple more head shots. We know what that does to guys now. If he gets his bell rung this year and refuses to retire, the league should step in.


      stopped reading after you said you’d start collie over crabtree

  • Independence76

    I get tired of people talking as if Austin Collie is some no-name receiver with little talent or ability — someone the 49ers can tolerate until the real receivers get healthy. Collie has excelled everywhere he has played and on every level. No, he doesn’t have world-class speed, but he has good speed. And his workouts and work ethic are outstanding. Moreover, his instincts and route running are excellent. If he can stay healthy, he will make a major contribution to the 49ers.