Stevie Johnson was a clear-cut No. 1 receiver for the Bills over the last four seasons, something that helped him to three straight 1,000-yard seasons between 2010 and 2012 but not too much team success as the Bills struggled to find other receiving options to complement him.
Johnson is in San Francisco now and things look different on the depth chart. Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin and Quinton Patton all return from last season and the 49ers have also added Brandon Lloyd and drafted Bruce Ellington in the fourth round to go with Johnson. Tight end Vernon Davis is also in the mix and Johnson said Tuesday he wasn’t worried about who is No. 1 because the team has several players who qualify.
“Right now, we’re all ones,” Johnson said, via the team’s website. “The defense has gotta pick their poison, whether they’re going to double-team Anquan, whether they’re going to double-team Crab, Vernon, me, Q.P. is coming in – you gotta pick your poison. We gotta handle our business.”
That kind of depth is a big change for Johnson and for the 49ers, who spent most of last season relying heavily on Boldin while waiting for Michael Crabtree to get healthy enough to return to the field. That should give the team more flexibility about how to deploy their offensive pieces and could lead to more points, which will come in handy if the 49ers are shorthanded on defense because of NaVorro Bowman’s injury and Aldon Smith’s possible suspension.