Wide receiver Pierre Garçon's first season with the San Francisco 49ers was cut short by a neck injury. He never got to catch a pass from Jimmy Garoppolo. Garçon's injury occurred the day before the 49ers acquired Garoppolo via a trade with the New England Patriots.

In 2017, Garçon caught the majority of his passes from Brian Hoyer with the rest coming from rookie C.J. Beathard. Despite erratic quarterback play, the receiver was on pace for his third career 1,000-yard season. Through eight games, Garçon was leading the 49ers with 40 receptions for 500 yards.

"It was a huge challenge when we lost Pierre halfway through the year, especially with him being the veteran of that group, one of the only guys who had ever started before," Kyle Shanahan said after completing his first season as the 49ers' head coach.

While other players stepped up during Garçon's absence, fans are likely looking forward to seeing what Garoppolo can do with the veteran receiver at his disposal.

NFL1000 scouts Marcus Mosher and Joe Goodberry recently ranked the NFL's top outside wide receivers of 2017 in a feature for Bleacher Report, and three 49ers players were among the top 100. Garçon, who came in at number nine, was the highest-ranked 49ers player on the list.

Mosher wrote the following about Garçon:

"Before a neck injury landed him on injured reserve in November, Pierre Garçon was one of the most impressive receivers in the NFL. Playing with well-below-average quarterbacks, Garçon was thriving as Kyle Shanahan's No. 1 receiver. Each week, Garçon displayed excellent route running and unbelievable hands in an offense that consistently struggled. With Jimmy Garoppolo now behind center, Garçon's production could dramatically rise in 2018, assuming he is healthy. Garçon remains one of the most undervalued receivers in the league and one of the few players at the position without any major holes in his game."

Doug Farrar, who is a lead scout for NFL1000, added the following:

"It was a real shame that Garçon wasn't on the field for Jimmy Garoppolo's ascent as the 49ers' franchise quarterback, because he did so much so well catching passes from fundamentally limited quarterbacks before he was hurt. Garçon is an outstanding long strider who has the speed to get past defensive backs and the route awareness to fool them while staying at top speed. The 10-year veteran has the skills to be a No. 1 receiver in the right offense with the right quarterback, and he could be walking right into the perfect situation in 2018."

The 2018 season will be Garçon's 11th in the NFL. His injury, which general manager John Lynch described as a non-displaced fracture of the right C5 pedicle in his neck, was believed to require eight weeks of recovery. That means Garçon should be ready for the start of the 49ers' offseason program.

The following are the other 49ers receivers on the list and where each ranked.

  • Kendrick Bourne (107)
  • Aldrick Robinson (100)
  • Marquise Goodwin (34)

Within a separate list, Trent Taylor ranked as the 23rd-best slot receiver of 2017.