With last year’s leading receiver, Michael Crabtree, out an estimated six months with a torn Achilles tendon, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh says he’s confident someone will step up to fill the void.
Harbaugh isn’t totally sure who that “someone” will be, though.
Harbaugh said on 95.7 The Game that he believes the most likely candidates to take Crabtree’s place in the offense are last year’s first-round pick A.J. Jenkins and this year’s fourth-round pick Quinton Patton as well as Ricardo Lockette, who has never played in a game for the 49ers but spent most of last year on the roster and has reportedly looked good in practices.
“We’ll put Jenkins, Patton, Ricardo Lockette at the same position and let them compete and emerge,” Harbaugh said. “The good news is that somebody will emerge because they have to.”
Harbaugh also said he believes the 49ers have a lot of depth at the receiver position.
“Then on the other side, Anquan Boldin, Chad Hall, Marlon Moore has been doing some really nice things in the offseason,” Harbaugh said. “Joe Hastings will compete on the other side. Kyle Williams eventually will come back from his injury. He’s doing real well, coming along very nicely. And Mario Manningham — probably a little bit later than Kyle, but he’s on track to be healed up and ready to go, as well. A real good chance for some young guys to emerge, get some reps and contribute. I very much anticipate that will happen.”
For the 49ers, it needs to happen. Crabtree was the 49ers’ best wide receiver and a big reason that Colin Kaepernick settled into the starting quarterback job so smoothly last year. He won’t be easy to replace, but the 49ers have no choice but to find someone who can do it.