Aug 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Quinton Patton (11) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

San Francisco 49ers Quinton Patton and Vance McDonald to expand roles

As rookies in 2013 for the 49ers, Quinton Patton and Vance McDonald were not big impact players in an experienced offense, but Jim Harbaugh thinks that may change in 2014 as second-year players, per Scott Kegley of

McDonald is a second round pick from Rice, who was the number two tight end for the Niners last season. As a primarily blocking tight end, McDonald impressed coaches in that regard, but only had eight catches on the season. With another offseason to train, perhaps McDonald can become a capable receiving tight end in the NFL, and give San Francisco another TE weapon opposite Vernon Davis, something Harbaugh missed in 2013 after having Delanie Walker in that role the previous two years.

Patton, a fourth rounder from Louisiana Tech, played mostly special teams for the 49ers in 2013, and was sidelined with a foot injury for much of the season. With Mario Manningham and Anquan Boldin set to be free agents, and Manningham almost certainly not returning to the team, Patton may be listed as the number three wideout on the 49ers depth chart to begin 2014.

With the one of the best O-lines in the league in place, the 49ers offense should be solid once again in 2014. Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis will be Colin Kapernick’s favorite weapons once again, but perhaps second-year leaps from Patton and McDonald will be what the Niners need to get past their divisional rivals and world champion Seahawks.

Tags: Anquan Boldin Colin Kaepernick Jim Harbaugh Mario Manningham Michael Crabtree Quinton Patton San Francico 49ers Vance McDonald Vernon Davis

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