At no point last season did the 49ers’ aerial attack look as strong as it has during this training camp. Actually, it’s stunning to see how much better this area is than it was last season. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is surely benefiting. A few examples: As a rookie, Quinton Patton was the No. 3 receiver last year. This year, he’s improved, but he might be the sixth and final receiver on the 53-man roster. Jonathan Baldwin was a frontline receiver for a spell in 2013. This year, he was cut 10 days into training camp. The additions of veterans Stevie Johnson, Brandon Lloyd and explosive fourth-round pick Bruce Ellington to go with holdover starters Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin make for a pretty special group. It has showed in camp.
In his last 18 games with Michael Crabtree in the lineup, Kaepernick has averaged 20.9 FP, which equate to #3 QB numbers. In 11 games without Crabtree, he averaged 16.1 FP. He averages 2.5 more pass attempts (i.e. the 49ers throw the ball more) and his YPA jumps from 7.4 to 8.4 with his top receiver in the lineup. The addition of Stevie Johnson should help as well. We like Kaepernick in the 8th to 10th round, depending on format.