Power ranking 49ers wide receivers ahead of Week 1
By Peter Panacy
49ers 2021 wide receiver power rankings: Long shots
The 49ers had to rely on River Cracraft when their wide receiver corps and returning options were both depleted last year.
And while Cracraft’s return gaffes last season weren’t good looks, at least his ability to serve as a backup here help his chances to a modest extent.
The only rookie wideout the Niners added during the offseason, Austin Watkins, has a long road ahead of him as an undrafted free agent out of a small-school program, the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Watkins’ 6-foot-3 frame and impressive college tape combine for an enticing developmental project, though, so it wouldn’t be shocking if San Francisco is looking to put him on the practice squad as someone who might contribute in 2022 and beyond.
No longer a player who can ride the laurels of being a former top-10 draft pick, veteran wide receiver Kevin White is still buried deep at the back end of the 49ers depth chart.
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There are plenty of reasons why White now finds himself likely to bounce around the league for the next few seasons, injuries earlier in his career being a major factor.
But the Niners essentially don’t have any reason to keep him around unless they start losing other options at an alarming rate.
So far, nothing of the sort has happened.
Another former undrafted free agent, Nsimba Webster was plucked off waivers from the Los Angeles Rams late last month.
Webster’s two years’ experience as a pro doesn’t indicate much, but he was a serviceable return specialist on both punts and kickoffs, potentially putting pressure on players like Cracraft and Richie James in this department.
Still, it’s likely Webster winds up being a mere option during preseason games before being let go once again.