49ers depth chart: Predicting futures for 2021 undrafted rookies

Linebacker Justin Hilliard #6 from Ohio State (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Linebacker Justin Hilliard #6 from Ohio State (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /
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Austin Watkins, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Austin Watkins Jr (7) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers WR Austin Watkins

If the Niners can get the 2019 version of Austin Watkins where he put up 1,092 receiving yards on 57 catches for six touchdowns, they might have landed an undrafted steal.

Watkins’ numbers in 2020 over seven games at UAB were slightly less, but his 468 yards there over seven games isn’t terrible. And at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, his big-body physique could help make up for a possible loss of third-year wide receiver Jalen Hurd, who has yet to take a snap at the NFL level after suffering key injuries the last two seasons.

San Francisco has some serious questions with its receiving depth chart heading into 2021, although pass-catchers like Jauan Jennings and Mohamed Sanu already impressed during OTAs are are probable favorites to earn spot Nos. 3 and 4 on the depth chart behind the starters, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.

That’ll leave Watkins to compete with a number of other candidates on the Niners’ offseason roster.

There seem to be mixed reviews about Watkins. Sports Illustrated’s Grant Cohn pointed out massive struggles from Watkins during OTAs, while The Athletic’s David Lombardi felt the rookie could be a promising find:

The sheer depth of the position, despite the relative lack of talent, probably ends up pushing Watkins out of regular-season roster consideration.

But the 49ers may look to continue his development.

Prediction: 49ers waive Austin Watkins, sign him to the practice squad