Young wideouts finally get their chances to shine

GM Scot McCloughan (and Mike Nolan) has not experienced much success in finding wide receivers via the draft. But what about the team’s two youngest wideouts? Can they play?

 

At this point, we do not know.

But the 49ers’ game Monday night at Arizona might begin to provide us with some clues about those two players.

 

Rookie Josh Morgan has supplanted veteran Bryant Johnson as the starter at split end, and second-year player Jason Hill will likely get his most extensive playing time of his career as he takes over for injured Arnaz Battle.

 

Hill played only 30 snaps all of last season. As a rookie, he caught just one pass for 6 yards. With the amount of three-receiver sets offensive coordinator Mike Martz likes to employ, Hill could be on the field for approximately half of the team’s plays Monday at Arizona.

 

“This is probably the best opportunity he’s had, but we’ll see,” 49ers receivers coach Jerry Sullivan said. “I’m not going to pass any judgment until I see him do it in a game.”

 

Hill has three receptions for 38 yards this season, including a 33-yard grab on a Shaun Hill pass on Oct. 26 against the Seahawks after Battle sustained his foot sprain. (Battle is week to week.) Morgan has 11 catches for 160 yards on the season.

 

Hill was a third-round pick in the ’07 draft, while Morgan was chosen in the sixth round earlier this year.

 

The 49ers have not had a lot of success with picks at receiver since Terrell Owens in 1996. The receivers they selected after Owens were Iheanyi Uwaezuoke (fifth round, ’96), Ryan Thelwell (seventh, ’98), Tai Streets (sixth, ’99), Cedrick Wilson (sixth, ’01), Brandon Lloyd (fourth, ’03), Rashaun Woods (first, ’04), Derrick Hamilton (third, ’04), Rasheed Marshall (fifth, ’05), Marcus Maxwell (seventh, ’05) and Brandon Williams (third, ’06).

 

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RealClearSports.com asked me to write a three-part series – pretty much off the top of my head – on the 49ers. The series, Dynasty to Dysfunction, begins with Part I, believe it or not.

 

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