The Niners all but overhauled their wide receiver crop entering this season, even parting ways with their leading receiver from a year ago, Jeremy Kerley, after the preseason.
No. 1 wideout Pierre Garçon has turned into a legitimate weapon despite San Francisco’s offensive struggles. He currently leads the team with 20 receptions and 285 yards.
As of now, Garçon and rookie wideout Trent Taylor have been the most reliable commodities the offense has through the air.
What the 49ers Are Doing Well
Garçon’s totals are promising, and he’s on pace to net more than 1,000 receiving yards this season — the first for San Francisco since former Niners receiver Anquan Boldin had 1,062 back in 2014.
It’s clear quarterback Brian Hoyer has a rapport with the veteran wideout, and that’s something the Niners should exploit.
And Taylor has been a nice addition too, as his ability to operate out of the slot has shown.
What Needs Improvement
Take away San Francisco’s offensive outburst in Week 3 against Los Angeles (308 passing yards), and the Niners have accumulated just 465 yards through the air — an average of just 155 yards per game.
This isn’t entirely on the receivers, as head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense still manages to get targets open.
But a big problem has been the drops. Through four games, the 49ers are leading the NFL with 11 dropped passes. Six teams are tied for second most, with seven drops.
Speedy wideout Marquise Goodwin has accounted for two of those drops before leaving Week 4 with a head injury. And while his speed was on full display during the preseason, the Niners have yet to exploit that ability through three-plus games into 2017.
Overall, San Francisco’s receivers have made only modest impacts to the team’s offense through four weeks.