49ers’ Week 1 wide receiver depth chart, pecking order
By deduction and subtraction, you should know who winds up making the Niners’ cut in advance of Week 1.
In case you don’t, here you go… with the order in which they’ll be ranked:
- Kendrick Bourne
- Brandon Aiyuk
- Trent Taylor
- Dante Pettis
- Richie James
- Deebo Samuel
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This counts for six wide receivers, and it’s likely one or two of the cut names on the previous slide winds up on the practice squad to guard against further injury.
Aiyuk could end up being back in time for the regular season, and the 49ers would keep him on the active roster anyway if they’d expect him to be available within that opening six-week window. Same for Samuel, who is already back to running routes in training camp.
For Week 1, let’s assume Samuel isn’t quite ready to go just yet and is listed as inactive.
Bourne, meanwhile, could see his role increase from a regular red-zone threat into a true WR1 candidate, at least early on if Aiyuk and/or Samuel aren’t quite ready to open up the regular season.
Taylor, meanwhile, will look to be yet another key third-down weapon for San Francisco, which is precisely what he was during his rookie 2017 campaign.
Things get a bit more interesting down the depth chart, yet each of the placements are understandable. Perhaps no other player has experienced a turnaround in camp this year more than Pettis, who went from a promising up-and-comer in 2018 to being inactive for Super Bowl LIV a year later. But Pettis has shown that urgency needed to all but guarantee himself a spot.
That leaves the final role up for grabs. And it goes to James, pushing out Austin who would have otherwise been the final selection if the former didn’t come off the NFI list and the latter landing on IR.
As for the predictions coming true? Well, those will be determined on Sept. 13 when the Niners host the Arizona Cardinals.