Is it Concerning That the 49ers Don't Have a True Slot Receiver?

Having a true slot receiver would optimize the offense of the 49ers.
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The 49ers are lacking in one specific area.

That area is the slot wide receiver position, or even just a No. 3 receiver. With Kendrick Bourne now with the Patriots, the 49ers do not have a sweet trio of wide receivers. Having a strong core of three wideouts has usually optimized Kyle Shanahan's offense.

Now that they are without one, the offense cannot be fully maximized. There isn't an answer in free agency, either. It all rests on the 49ers rolling the dice on the current receivers already on their roster. But who in that group can actually have a high likelihood of filling in that role? Operating from the slot is a lethal way to attack for an offense, so the 49ers are limiting themselves.

Is it concerning that the 49ers don't have a true slot receiver?

While it is a bummer to not have a clear-cut player in that spot -- there is no concern. Shanahan himself as admitted that he does like having a player in that role, but that it is not a necessity. Spoken like a true adaptive offensive coordinator, Shanahan does not need any exclusive receiver there. He can easily platoon it with the guys he has now.

Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle are the obvious players who can and will kick inside. But there are still players on the roster that they can mold and hope to show what they can do like Shanahan mentioned at one of his post-draft pressers. Richie James Jr. is one player I believe that can step up in that role. Even Mohamed Sanu could be someone that fills in.

When it comes to slot receiver, it is going to be an open-ended question for the 49ers. There is not one definite answer. Even the running backs they have can fill in there, whether that is a straight up alignment or being motioned there. And do not forget of the capabilities of Kyle Juszczyk as a receiver. 2021 looks to be the season where he finally sees his utilization increased.

Plus, how could anyone who has watched the 49ers since Shanahan took over not realize that a No. 3 wide receiver is not needed? What Shanahan loves most in his offense, and is the key to it, is running the football. Drafting two running backs and two offensive linemen indicated as such. Shanahan is looking to reinvigorate himself in that aspect because he knows in order for the game to come easy to Trey Lance, and even Jimmy Garoppolo since he struggles processing, he needs an efficient ground attack. Without it, Lance would be demanded to immediately pick up the slack and immensely increase the pressure on his shoulders.

There is plenty of time for a player to step up until and throughout the regular season as the slot receiver. But if no one does, then it will not matter. Running the ball down everyone's throat is going to be the way the offense is skewed in the end.