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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers coaches impressed with Mohamed Sanu during offseason program

Jun 14, 2021 at 11:26 AM--

The wide receiver position might become an interesting training camp battle to keep an eye on. While Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel are near-locks to sit atop the depth chart, after that, there is a lot of uncertainty. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is still waiting for someone to step up into that number three receiver role.

Kendrick Bourne held that role last season but signed with the New England Patriots as a free agent. San Francisco had expressed an interest in bringing him back but wasn't going to get into a bidding war with a team like New England, which had a surplus of salary-cap space.

RELATED Kyle Shanahan looking for a receiver to step up

"A number of guys have a chance to try to earn that third role, and we need a number of guys to make the roster to be ready for starting roles in case people get hurt," Shanahan said last week. "So it's not to where you can just pencil in those guys."

While their places on the depth chart are far from finalized, Shanahan is happy with his group of receivers. He praised several of them for their performances during the offseason program—names like Richie James, Jauan Jennings, Travis Benjamin, and Kevin White.

Another of the receivers mentioned was veteran Mohamed Sanu, who caught one pass during his brief stint with the team last season. Sanu reportedly stood out during the two practices open to the media, and Shanahan feels the wideout had a "hell of a camp."

Sanu has been with four teams over the past two seasons. He was coming off an ankle injury before signing with San Francisco last season. Last week, 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel was asked if injuries contributed to the receiver's recent drop in production and if his impressive showing might be due to the veteran being healthier.

"That's a great observation," McDaniel responded. "Mohamed Sanu is a player that we have history with, not just last year briefly, but in Atlanta for 2016. And I think Mohamed Sanu serves as a good vision for a lot of the young guys because this dude came back in great shape and with something to prove."

McDaniel isn't counting out Sanu when it comes to the battle at wide receiver. And it sounds like the veteran welcomes the competition.

"You can tell that he doesn't expect anything to be given to him, and he's trying to earn his spot on this team," McDaniel said. "So it was very exciting to see him perform. He was doing very well. And, if he comes back to training camp in that same shape, he's going to be a guy that is going to be tough to beat out for that final 53 (man) roster."

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