Originally posted by GORO:
Originally posted by English:
I make Manningham an upgrade on Morgan, and even if Moss disappoints he can't be described as a downgrade on Edwards!
And with the draft and the cut downs to come, no concerns here.
Weaker than last year? We had Swaine active and another reciever I donot care to remember. Crabtree, Ginn, Williams were the three that had most playing time. Williams showed promise but Ginn is a better returner. Manningham had a down year last year but came up with big plays in the Championship and Superbowl so he already is an upgrade. If Alex doesnot learn to trust his recievers he will be benched and this new group will be more productive either with Alex or not.
In my view, the 49ers have a bunch of guys who would be 2s, 3s and a 4th on a good passing team. None of them by themselves are going to cause any DC to stay awake at night figuring out how to stop them.
So the issue going forward is not how the team finished the season (Swain, Hastings and Ginn) but what was the pattern Harbaugh set for the team. The Edwards signing sent a clear message that JH wants a big, strong guy who can win the aerial battles. Edwards' problems were well-known as are Moss'. I see them as interchangeable pieces though I question whether Moss can still get anything done.
Given the very short time together last PS, Morgan was rounding into an effective player. Manningham is the replacement for Morgan. MM benefitted greatly from being the 3rd option behind Nicks and Cruz. He almost never drew double coverage and usually was guarded by the opponent's 2nd or 3rd best DB. Consequently, he did have some decent plays but it is very difficult to consider him to be a "playmaker" despite the one spectacular catch in the SB. He may be an upgrade from Morgan but only time will tell. I see him as better in some areas but not as good in others. It is a draw.
The big question then as far as the draft is concerned is; how do Baalke and Harbaugh view the upside of Williams and Crabtree? We all hope Crabtree will be healthy and round into the player his draft status suggests but we haven't seen enough of that player on the field to know. The coaches, who only saw him on a regular basis in practice the last 6 weeks of the season are the only ones who really have an idea as to what he can do.
Williams, according to Kevin Lynch and other writers who cover the team, is a guy the coaches like as a slot receiver. He has also been somewhat limited by injuries so his play time has not given us a full view of what he can do. Do the coaches like him enough as a quick Wes Welker-type slot guy, or do they grab someone like Joe Adams in the 4th or thereabouts? Only the draft will tell.
So it comes down to how confident Harbaugh is in building the team around two guys who have yet to reach their potential, along with two other guys who appear to clearly be stop gaps. If I read this right, that suggests to me they will be drafting at least two WRs; one, big, tall "vertical" player a la a younger Randy Moss/Braylon Edwards type, and two, a speed guy with hands who can also be a returner at some point in the future. NOTE: I do not see the 49ers holding a place for a specialty only return guy who cannot also contribute on the field in the case of injury to a starter. IOW, as valuable as Ginn was last season, as a one-trick-pony I don't see him with the team long-term unless he suddenly learns how to play WR on a consistently higher level than he has to date.