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Expectations for the 49ers Wide Receivers in 2023

Jul 3, 2023 at 2:00 PM

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The 2023 San Francisco 49ers have 11 wide receivers heading this training camp. The newest additions are veteran Chris Conley, seventh-round pick Ronnie Bell, and undrafted free agent Isaiah Winstead. Although the number of wide receivers hasn't been solidified for the 2023 NFL season, the expectations remain the same for each wide receiver.

In 2022, per Pro Football Focus, the 49ers receiving corps (Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Jauan Jennings, Ray-Ray McCloud, and Danny Gray) finished with 2,316 yards, 184 receptions, averaged 12.6 yards per catch, scored 12 touchdowns, 1,156 yards after the catch, 106 first downs, fumbled the ball two times, and dropped the ball 16 times. Fun fact: wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk led the team with 1,015 yards and eight touchdowns. He was the second-leading touchdown scorer on the 49ers.

Below are three expectations for the 2023 49ers' wide receiving corps.

Limit the Drops

In 2022, the 49ers dropped the ball 22 times, and 16 were from the wide receivers. Aiyuk and Samuel, the 49ers' top two wideouts, led the team with five drops. The two were also targeted the most, with 199 targets. The 49ers receivers need to find a way to limit the dropped passes so the team doesn't break momentum or stride.

YAC (Yards After Catch)

In 2022, the 49ers wide receivers recorded 1,015 yards after the catch, with Samuel leading the way with 499 yards. This shouldn't come as a surprise. Head coach Kyle Shanahan predicates his offense on YAC (yards after the catch). Quarterbacks throw short passes, and the playmakers do what they do best, make plays.

With the new addition of rookie Ronnie Bell, the 49ers may have another young YAC player to add to the YAC Squad. Bell led Michigan in total receiving yards with 690 and YAC with 278 in 2022. The third-leading YAC receiver for the 49ers in 2022 was Jauan Jennings, with 176 yards.


The wide receiver position is also known as the Playmaker position. One of the attributes to look into is the ability to make contested catches. In 2022, the pass-catching group finished the season with 32 contested catches, with 17 contested catches from the wide receivers. What is a contested catch? It's when the defender is close enough to challenge the pass at the catch point. A lot goes into wide receivers making contested catches, and they are only some 50-50 jump balls.

Aiyuk led the receiving corps with nine contested catches. It's simple, make the toughly contested catches, and welcome to the school of becoming a playmaker.

In Conclusion

There are tons of different expectations for the wide-receiving corps of the San Francisco 49ers. I narrowed mine down to three, and if the group lives up to these expectations, the 49ers may have the best wide-receiving corps in the NFL in 2023.
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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