The 49ers don’t list Mario Manningham as a starter, but he is definitely the No.2 wide receiver behind Michael Crabtree.
At times, Manningham has seemed like the best receiver on the team. He’s short and skinny, but he can get open better than any other 49er. Greg Roman calls roughly five passes a game for Manningham, and he has only dropped one pass.
He is the best receiver on the team at beating press coverage. He “crosses over” cornerbacks at the line of scrimmage, makes them miss when they try to jam him. He could be a big weapon against the Seahawks’ big, pressing cornerbacks – Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner – who shut down the Niners’ wide receivers a few weeks ago when Manningham was out with a shoulder injury.
Manningham is an explosive deep-threat, but he’s only averaging 9.9 yards per catch – four yards per catch less than his career average. The 49ers have not used him to his full potential yet.
MIDTERM GRADE: B.