The 49ers hosted a trio of wideouts today in an effort to solidify their extremely battered receiving corps. Jim Harbaugh watched while Austin Collie, Laurent Robinson and Lavelle Hawkins ran routes for Colin Kaepernick, and apparently Collie and Hawkins impressed the most (or proved easier to sign than Robinson). The 49ers signed both Collie and Hawkins, who will at the very least add some depth while the team tries to escape training camp unscathed.
Both wide receivers are expected to participate with the team when practice begins at 5 this evening.
This was Collie’s second visit to the 49ers since he worked out for coaches and scouts on June 13th, catching passes from B.J. Daniels. The signing indicates either he was significantly more impressive during his second workout or the 49ers are in desperate need for wide receiver depth this time around (I’m going to go with the latter).
Collie stood out during his first three years with the Colts — 172 catches, 1,839 yards and 16 touchdowns — but his career has been marred by injuries since. His latest was a torn patellar tendon which forced him to sit out all but one game in 2012, but he has since recovered and passed the neurological tests to rule out lingering concussion symptoms (he’s had three since 2009).
Obviously, when Collie is healthy he is a nice weapon. The key is staying healthy:
Bay Area fans will remember Hawkins more for his career at Cal than for what he’s done in the NFL. In his three years as a Bear he caught 138 passes for 1,748 yards and 12 touchdowns. Unfortunately he was drafted by the Tennessee Titans, where receivers go to enjoy eternal obscurity (sorry, Delanie Walker). He amassed 71 catches for 771 yards and only one touchdown in five years with the Titans. His best season was 2011 — he caught 47 passes for 470 yards and his only touchdown.
There’s not a lot in the world of YouTube when it comes to Hawkins’ highlights, but this one is pretty cool:
Ultimately, the 49ers will really be in dire straights should either of these receivers see significant playing time come Week 1. While Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham are both on the physically unable to perform list, Kyle Williams, A.J. Jenkins, Kassim Osgood and Quinton Patton are all dealing with injuries. While none of them are serious enough to end them up on the PUP list, they are nagging enough to keep them out of training camp activities. Kyle Williams is the most proven commodity in their wide receiver corps, and if healthy, he should be the one starting opposite Anquan Boldin come Week 1.