Grading the 49ers: Pass catchers

Now that the draft is over, I’m going to grade each area of the Niners offense, starting with the pass catchers.

Before: Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Delanie Walker, Kyle Williams, Ted Ginn Jr., Brett Swain and Joe Hastings.

Grade: C-

Why: Vernon Davis is a stud, so this group couldn’t have a failing grade. But everyone else is ordinary at best. Swain and Hastings probably won’t be in the league this year. I don’t include running backs Frank Gore or Kendall Hunter on this because they weren’t much of a factor in the passing offense last season – they didn’t even catch 40 passes combined.

Now: Subtract Brett Swain and Joe Hastings. Add Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James.

Grade: A

Why: The additions of Moss and Manningham ensure defenses can no longer double team Vernon Davis every play, which is a big win for the Niners. Manningham  lost his starting job in New York to Pro Bowler Victor Cruz last season, but when he was the Giants starting flanker in 2010 he scored 9 touchdowns. In Moss’ last full season (2009), he scored 13 TDs. LaMichael James has better hands than Frank Gore or Kendall Hunter, so he should give the Niners a screen game. And A.J. Jenkins gives the Niners a quality WR backup. This is an excellent group.

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