The San Francisco 49ers traded for former Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders on Tuesday. Niner Noise takes a look at how each receiver on the 49ers roster will be changed with Sanders being added to the mix.
The trade happened after a few weeks of rumors the Niners were shopping to add to their receiving corps, which has, according to ESPN Stats & Information, been one of the poorer units in the league through six games. The group is last in both receptions and targets per game, second to last in reception yards per game and 24th in receiving touchdowns.
And even though head coach Kyle Shanahan went on the record on Monday that he did see “that there are guys in our building that I do think the answers are here,” it turns out this might have been a little bit of hedging on Shanahan’s part.
Some of the sudden sense of urgency may be related not only to the lack of production from receivers like Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Kendrick Bourne and rookie Deebo Samuel, but also the uncertainty around two receivers currently on injured reserve: Trent Taylor and rookie Jalen Hurd, neither of whom has seen the field in a 2019 regular-season game.
The timetable for both players is currently unclear, and it’s unrealistic to expect either to simply jump off IR and into a massive, game-changing role for the team.
Hence the trade for Emmanuel Sanders, a 32-year-old former Pro Bowler who has started this year by grabbing 30 receptions for 367 yards (12.2 YPC) and two touchdowns, with a catch percentage of 68.2. That last number would already slot him in just behind Goodwin for the second best on the team for a receiver (tight end George Kittle is at 81 percent).
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at each of the receivers on the 49ers current roster and discuss how Sanders will impact each player.