49ers strong position No. 2: Wide receiver
Key additions in 2022: Marcus Johnson, Ray-Ray McCloud, Malik Turner, Danny Gray*
All signs are beginning to point towards disgruntled All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel not going anywhere anytime soon, and that’s awfully good a thing.
Assuming nothing changes there, the 49ers have arguably the most well-rounded wide receiver corps during head coach Kyle Shanahan’s tenure.
Samuel is the Niners’ biggest offensive playmaker, one who netted 1,770 all-purpose yards last season, which ranked third best in that category. No questioning that. Behind him, San Francisco will finally look to get that breakout-kind of season from third-year wideout Brandon Aiyuk, who seems poised to thrive with quarterback Trey Lance under center.
For much of last season, Aiyuk was tasked with performing deep-threat routes, yet he didn’t see a good share of targets early in the year. With the stronger-armed Lance now in charge of passing, one might assume Aiyuk’s role changes, too.
However, the 49ers’ new speed threat who can take the top, former SMU speedster Danny Gray, should be able to occupy the “thankless” duties of drawing an extra defender down the field. That’s what a 4.33 40-yard time can do.
While depth receivers like Marcus Johnson, Malik Turner and return specialist Ray-Ray McCloud may not see a lot of offensive action, and at least one of them likely won’t make the 53-man roster, the Niners can finally look at this position group and be thankful for the exceptional depth.