49ers depth chart: 4 position battles to watch during OTAs
By Peter Panacy
49ers OTA Battle No. 1: Ascending the wide receiver depth chart
Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel are carved in as San Francisco’s top two wide receivers in 2021. Behind them, it’s an open-ended competition.
OTAs will feature plenty of one-on-one sprint matchups against cornerbacks who can’t employ jam coverage. And the lack of physicality should allow receivers to showcase their route-running skills without having to worry too much about press man at the snap.
More from Niner Noise
- Predicting 49ers NFL Draft picks by looking at final mocks
- DraftKings NFL Draft Promo – Win $150 Guaranteed on Any $5 Bet
- 2023 NFL Draft: EDGE Byron Young could be impact player for 49ers
- 5 low-key NFL Draft options for 49ers who are flying under the radar
- Updated 49ers salary cap space ahead of 2023 NFL Draft
All that might present some fun-to-watch highlight videos, but Kyle Shanahan has a history of being awfully harsh on wide receivers who aren’t near-perfect with their footwork and technique. Last year, the lack of OTAs prevented the 49ers’ seventh-round draft pick, Jauan Jennings, from getting a leg up towards making the 53-man roster.
Jennings is back in the mix for one of probably four spots behind Aiyuk and Samuel. So are receivers Richie James, Trent Sherfield, Mohamed Sanu, Travis Benjamin, Marqise Lee, Jalen Hurd, River Cracraft, Kevin White and the undrafted rookie, Austin Watkins.
A pretty crowded group.
The Niners are seeking a receiver who can occupy that tertiary role at the position, one vacated by now-New England Patriots wideout Kendrick Bourne, who was good for two to three catches per game the last four years.
As of now, there’s no clear-cut answer who grabs that spot. The same goes with the remaining two or three spots on the depth chart.
But OTAs could give us a pretty good indicator of who is separating himself from the competition.