Take the veteran, Pierre Garçon, out of this picture and the 49ers wide receiver corps would be in bad, bad shape.
Not shockingly, Garçon leads all Niners receivers with 40 receptions and 500 receiving yards. And if San Francisco had adequate-to-good quarterback play, these numbers would likely be higher in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s system.
There’s a bit of promise with rookie slot receiver Trent Taylor, but we haven’t seen the sure-handed wideout make a serious impact outside of the occasional flash play.
And No. 2 wideout Marquise Goodwin? Well, his speed hasn’t been a major factor for San Francisco’s 29th-ranked scoring offense.
What the 49ers Are Doing Well
Trusting Garçon to make tough, physical catches is about the only thing the Niners have going for them at this position. Unlike nearly every other 49ers receiving target, Garçon is the only one not to have a drop yet this season, per Fox Sports.
Out of the slot, Taylor has hauled in 22 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown through eight weeks. These efforts have amounted to a Pro Football Focus catch rate of 72.0, which stands at a respectable 14th among slot qualifiers.
Interestingly enough, though, Jeremy Kerley — whom Taylor replaced during the preseason — ranks first in this category with a catch rate of 90.0.
What Needs Improvement
Goodwin, Taylor and Aldrick Robinson all have drops, certainly contributing to the Niners’ league-leading 16 drops this season.
But there’s more to a receiving offense than just drops. Good receivers help out their quarterbacks, even if the quarterbacking play is substandard. Aside from Garçon, this hasn’t exactly gone the 49ers’ way.
Overall, the Niners are averaging just 4.9 yards per pass attempt, which ranks 30th in the NFL.
If getting open is the name of the game, San Francisco could stand for some serious improvement.