Originally posted by NCommand:
I sort of subscribe to the notion that, in our offense, there is no #1 WR. Instead, the #1 is whoever number is called for THAT designed pass play...and it still may end up gong to the #2 or #3 option via progressions. And since we didn't have Williams, Manningham or Jenkins, well, Crabtree was the #1 option the majority of te 2nd half of the year until CK/Roman remembered we had the best TE in the game who thrives in the playoffs and big games.
That said, Crabtree is not a deep threat (Jones), can sometimes be out-muscled at the LOS (Fitz) and certainly isn't a threat IN the EZ (Boldin). But give Crabtree any amount of space and he's one of THE best RAC WR's in the game. Crabtree has worked hard this offseason and has beefed up a lot. He can take those big hits over the middle now. He's grown into a man.
NOW, we need to not only compliment him but USE the other weapons around him and put him in the best place to succeed - out in space. This year we used VD, Manningham and Moss to clear out space for him. But for next year, we need to make anyone-else-not-named-VD a true threat that teams need to account for. The Raven's were able to key in on Crabtree on the final 3 pass plays b/c on film, we have shown ZERO ability to even look to VD, Walker or even Moss in the EZ and 95% of the TD's were as a result of a WR utilizing RAC to get into the EZ...versus a viable target that can run routes in it and make those catches (ala Boldin and Pitta and a 100 others against us this year).
I abolutely agree, he's a great weapon, as is VD, they need to build the passing offense around those two guys, add pieces to complement what both of them do. In the draft I like Quinton Patton of Louisiana Tech considerably, he's got top WR potential, has been compared to Reggie Wayne, I think he has the tools to be even better than that, he's also a monster after the catch, has terrific quickness and extremely reliable hands, the ideal guy opposite Crabtree. In the slot I think you have to give AJ Jenkins a chance, let him compete with Kyle Williams and possibly a later round draft pick or undrafted free agent, someone with speed, their whole role is to stretch the defense and create matchup problems.
I'd also like to see an upgrade at TE to replace Delanie Walker, a bigger, more traditional type of TE that can expose holes in a defense, a big physical target that is a major threat in the redzone.
I also think that Crabtree can be a terrific threat in the endzone, but Kaepernick really struggles finding the touch in that area of the field, they need to work together a lot more often because Crabtree's been able to get quick separation in the endzone a lot but the passes just haven't gotten where they needed to be.