San Francisco 49ers: 5 Rookies Who Could Start Right Away in 2016
By Peter Panacy
Wide Receiver Aaron Burbridge, Michigan State
Oakland Raiders quarterback Connor Cook wouldn’t have been the heralded prospect he was without former Michigan State teammate Aaron Burbridge.
The 6’1″, 208-pound wide receiver bailed Cook out on more than a few occasions, and Burbridge will look to bring that same skill set to the 49ers after the team drafted him in Round 6.
We’ve covered what needs the Niners have at wide receiver already. Aside from No. 1 wideout Torrey Smith, there isn’t exactly a lot of proven options. While returning veterans like Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington, Jerome Simpson or DeAndre Smelter could emerge as the No. 2 guy, Burbridge has to be considered a legitimate possibility to start his rookie season.
One of the primary reasons is Burbridge is built like the guy he’s likely to replace: veteran wideout Anquan Boldin.
The sizes are comparable and, while speed isn’t a bonus for either Burbridge or Boldin, the rookie’s hands make him a likable candidate.
Even if Burbridge doesn’t secure a starting job, it’s perfectly reasonable he could see time as the team’s slot receiver — a notion discussed in the video below, courtesy of the team’s website:
With teams utilizing three-wide receiver sets more frequently, such a role would essentially make Burbridge a starter.
Next: OT Fahn Cooper