Brandon Lloyd’s return to NFL action looks to be off to a positive start.
After Wednesday’s OTAs, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he had been “(seeing) really good things” from the 32-year-old receiver, who was out of football in 2013.
“Seeing surge off the line of scrimmage. He’s got the ability to burst at the top of his routes,” Harbaugh said, according to a transcript from the club. “Runs excellent routes. Acrobatic type of catches that he’s able to make. Really good hands.
“So far really good. No, it does not seem like a guy that’s had a layoff from football for a year.”
Harbaugh’s observation that Lloyd has retained his athleticism is not a bad sign for the 11th-year wide receiver, who is one of 11 players at his position on the 49ers’ roster. At best, Lloyd could factor as the fourth receiver behind Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Stevie Johnson.
Were Lloyd to earn a depth chart spot, it could knock another receiver out of the mix. Rookie Bruce Ellington, a fourth-round selection, probably stands a good shot at making the roster in Year One, with second-year pro Quinton Patton and fourth-year pro Jonathan Baldwin also in the mix. Also, 12th-year pro Kassim Osgood’s special teams value can’t be overlooked.
However, the 49ers don’t figure to keep eight receivers. And that’s one of the reasons Harbaugh’s remarks are notable. If Lloyd shows he can still run, he’ll help his chances of sticking on a roster, whether in San Francisco or elsewhere.