49ers: 5 most competitive position battles so far at OTAs

Aaron Banks #62 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Aaron Banks #62 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Jauan Jennings, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jauan Jennings (15) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: 49ers’ third-string wide receiver is far from being determined

Consider this a strength and a weakness.

Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel are already identified as San Francisco’s top two wide receivers entering 2021. After those two, however, it’s anyone’s guess.

This means the competition is wide open, and one or two players have the chance to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Yet it also means there’s no clear-cut answer as of right now, so those open-ended OTA reps are going to be vital.

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Not good when receivers like Richie James and Travis Benjamin are missing time with injuries.

In contrast, though, fellow wideouts Jauan Jennings and Mohamed Sanu have apparently been making the most of the increased workloads. Jennings, in particular, looks nothing like the sluggish and unfocused rookie he was a year ago at this time. While it’s still early, one could make the argument he’s the early favorite to secure that vital No. 3 spot on the team’s depth chart at this position.

What the 49ers will need here is a player who can emerge as a quality possession receiver, someone who can catch two or three passes per game and be a reliable, if not flashy, target in the process.

Again, the lack of press coverage has helped Jennings look good so far. But it’s also important to look good when it’s easy to run routes without any contact.

Next. Biggest winners, losers from first week of 49ers OTAs. dark