The San Francisco 49ers entered training camp with an incredibly deep wide receiver corps, as Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson, Bruce Ellington, Quinton Patton, and Brandon Lloyd could all be viable wide receivers next season and have plenty of talent. Crabtree, Boldin, and Johnson are three wide receivers who have had plenty of past production, and Ellington and Patton are locks due to their youth (Ellington and his strong all-around skill-set give him the chance to make a big rookie impact). Only Lloyd isn’t a lock, but the veteran wideout could have a nice season in his second stint with the 49ers if he can stick around.
Lloyd was out of football last season and apparently had a role in a zombie movie, but the 49ers were always interested in bringing him on. The New England Patriots cut ties with Lloyd instead of paying him $5 million, as he was a disappointment in his lone season with the Pats. While he caught over 70 passes and made some circus-style catches, he was targeted heavily and had a catch rate in the mid-50%. That didn’t justify $5 million, so his release from the Patriots wasn’t surprising. He also failed to show any downfield speed or generate consistent separation, which are two things he did while starring for the Denver Broncos.
If Lloyd still has speed left in the tank, then he can be a very useful veteran backup wideout in the 49ers corps. Boldin had some nice praise for Lloyd, who has seemingly become a quick favorite of head coach Jim Harbaugh.
“I think he’s a great guy to have around,” said Boldin, via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch. “We love having him in the meeting room. He definitely makes everything live. I think he fits in here.”
Boldin’s praise for Lloyd’s character is important, because he apparently had character issues while with the Broncos and Patriots. It seemed like petty stuff, though, as he was called “eccentric” and displayed bipolar-like behavior by showing mood swings. Lloyd is a different type of guy, but he seems to fit with the Niners, and those character issues are just meaningless BS. While he is wired differently, he doesn’t cause issues in the locker room, and the 49ers seem very happy to have him. I’m hoping he can stick and play like he did with the Broncos, though even playing at 70% of that level would be pretty big for the 49ers, especially since he would be their No. 5 wideout (4 at best, which is the 5th target in the passing game when taking into account TE Vernon Davis).