The San Francisco 49ers are a running team by identity with Frank Gore as the workhorse in the backfield behind one of the league’s most stout offensive lines, and they also added a Gore-esque rookie in Carlos Hyde, who has feature back talent. But the 49ers look set to throw the ball more often next season with a healthy Michael Crabtree, development from now-filthy-rich QB Colin Kaepernick, the acquisition of Stevie Johnson in a trade with the Buffalo Bills, the drafting of talented rookie Bruce Ellington, development from Quinton Patton, and the flier on potentially solid veteran Brandon Lloyd.
Kaepernick took the time to speak a little bit about his receivers, and I found his comments on Ellington to be interesting. The cousin of current Arizona Cardinals star running back Andre Ellington, Bruce starred as a jack-of-all-trades player for the South Carolina Gamecocks in college, and he has the ability to make an immediate impact in the pros. Ellington can play in the slot or on the outside, he has good hands, very good quickness, plenty of agility, and sneaky good long speed. He probably won’t end up being a star in this league, but he should be a great complementary receiver for years to come.
According to ESPN NFL Nation’s Bill Williamson, Kaep stated that the first-year wideout hasn’t looked like a rookie out there, and he gave Ellington some praise that’s worth reading into. The star QB stated, “He’s looked great when he’s been out there. He’s been on top of it mentally, which is a huge thing as a rookie. He doesn’t play like a rookie. He’s not out there thinking about things or worried about making mistakes. He’s playing fast, he’s making plays, so we’re excited about him.”
Beat writers have raved about Ellington’s performance throughout the offseason, and he’s a potential standout in a deep WR class. The 49ers are one of the best teams in the league at drafting players, so it would be unwise to sleep on Ellington in any way, especially since Kaepernick believes he’s more polished than most rookies.