No. 3: 49ers Need a 1,000-Yard Wide Receiver
Kyle Shanahan’s scheme is a run-first offense, and his No. 1 pass catcher is a tight end, George Kittle.
Those things can remain true heading into 2020. But in order for San Francisco’s offense to be even more prolific and effective, much like Shanahan’s Atlanta Falcons offense in 2016, the 49ers will need to produce a 1,000-yard wide receiver.
The Niners haven’t had one of these since Anquan Boldin back in 2014. Last year, then-rookie wideout Deebo Samuel came close with 802 receiving yards, while now-Philadelphia Eagles receiver Marquise Goodwin fell just short of this plateau back in 2017.
Samuel, who could miss some time early in 2020 with a Jones fracture in his foot, is still the best candidate to reach this mark.
It’s vital, too, and not just for the statistical vantage point. Getting a bona fide wide receiver threat with the stats to back it up will ultimately take pressure off Kittle to be the go-go guy in the passing game, while also making Shanahan’s run game all the more effective.
In short, Shanahan needs to develop his own version of the Falcons’ Julio Jones.
That isn’t easy, as Jones is a generational talent. But having a player surpass that number would make Kittle even scarier, while preventing opposing teams from loading up the box with eight defenders to guard against San Francisco’s rushing attack.