No. 1: How does 49ers wide receiver depth chart pan out?
Richie James’ injury is only one of the setbacks the Niners’ wide receiver corps is dealing with heading into camp.
The most notable, of course, is second-year pro Deebo Samuel suffering a Jones fracture in his left foot, which could keep him out a total of 16 weeks and force him to miss the first quarter of 2020, depending on his recovery.
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Samuel, who led all Niners wideouts with 802 receiving yards his rookie season, figured to be a major factor in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Losing him, even if just for a short period of time, stinks. And it puts pressure on San Francisco’s remaining crop of mostly untested or at-best questionable wide receivers to exceed expectations.
Fourth-year pro Kendrick Bourne is reliable as a red-zone threat, yes. Eyes will be on Brandon Aiyuk, too, to mature quickly and hone his skills as a potential No. 1 option.
Yet the 49ers will have to get contributions from receivers who don’t necessarily inspire a ton of confidence just yet. Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd are both returning from serious injuries suffered last year. Dante Pettis is trying to bounce back from Shanahan’s proverbial “doghouse” and a lost 2019 campaign.
The lack of proven depth here is concerning, but it also means this position group is wide open for the players vying for a spot on the 53-man roster this season.