San Francisco 49ers: Projecting Each Prospect’s Role in 2016
By Jerod Brown
Aaron Burbridge-Wide Receiver
Sixth Round-No. 213 Overall
If 49ers fans are going to be excited about one of these late-round picks, it should be Burbridge. At 213th overall, the 49ers grab an absolute bargain with almost no pressure to come in and produce immediately.
The wide receiver position has a ton of depth but almost no proven players, save for Torrey Smith. The 49ers are essentially holding a free-for-all training camp competition to weed out the mess. Aside from Smith, the starting receiver could be just about anyone.
So, why not let them compete and see what happens? Burbridge won’t win the competition but I expect him to do enough to stick around in 2016 as maybe the fifth or sixth receiver on the depth chart.
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If that’s the case, Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington will likely be fighting one another for playing time. Both could make the roster but it’s hard to imagine both of them having a productive season, especially Patton. Burbridge is essentially the same size as Patton and comes without the on-field flair that leads to far too many penalties.
If Patton plays well in the preseason he could hold off Burbridge, but I’m not holding my breath. Burbridge will likely be asked to earn his keep as a special-teamer in the first year before having a legitimate shot to produce in 2017.
Like almost any late selection, Burbridge’s participation and production will be a result of his willingness to keep his head down and work without recognition for at least a year.
Hard not to at least be intrigued when he is making plays like this, though.
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