The former New York Giant signed a two-year, $7.375 million deal with San Francisco this offseason.
Manningham spent four seasons with the Giants after being drafted by them in 2008 (Round 3, 95th overall). In that time, Manningham accumulated 2,315 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns as role player in the offense.
All 18 of his touchdowns came in the past three seasons, during which he had a career-high nine scores in 2010.
As of recent, the New York Giants staff has excelled at acquiring pass-rushers and wide receivers.
At 6'0", Manningham comes with versatility as a receiver, as someone who can play the X, Y and Z spots. He has the physical tools to be productive: his quickness, hands and big-play ability are what made him appealing to the 49ers this offseason.
If injuries occur, Manningham is a potential 1,000-yard receiver for the 49ers. And when Randy Moss has played out his contract and moved on, Manningham could remain with the team and be that receiver. In 2010, Manningham was just shy of a thousand yards when he topped out at 944, but he did it in 16 games, of which he only started eight times.
Additionally, he is a great receiver to get the ball to in a hurry when facing pressure. By nature, Manningham is an incredibly elusive player with and without the football in his hands.
At age 26, Manningham is coming to a new team, fresh off a successful season where he was a Super Bowl hero and postseason stud.
In four postseason games in 2011, Manningham recorded 13 catches, 189 yards and three touchdowns. He became Eli Manning's clutch go-to receiver, averaging 14.7 yards per catch in the playoffs. He was a dynamo in the postseason, and the 49ers needed someone at the receiver position who has proven he can step up, especially if they are serious about a title.
And as eager as he may be to prove he can be a starting receiver in this league, he hasn't made waves. Manningham will let his play to do the talking.
So far, he has displayed the right mentality, revealing himself to be a true team player. Manningham said in a 49ers press conference:
As long as we’re winning, nobody will have anything to say. Yeah, we’'ve got a bunch of good receivers and there’s only one ball. But if we’re out there winning,– if we'’ve got to run the ball the whole game to win, that’s perfectly fine with me. I mean, I’'m all about the team. So that’'s perfectly fine.
While it's teams that win championships, Manningham could emerge as a star in the 49ers offense. There is a lot of room for him to be a productive player on this team in 2012 and beyond.
The 49ers also acquired Randy Moss this offseason, causing the Manningham acquisition to be more under the radar, and that can carry into the season. Moss' presence will dilute the valued attention Manningham receives from defenses on game day. Manningham can work the underneath routes, but is also a threat to hurt teams deep.
This will make Manningham extremely hard to account for. Not only do teams not have sufficient personnel to dedicate to the depth of the 49ers receiving corps, but their versatility will make route possibilities that much more unpredictable. Manningham is one of the most overall athletic receivers the 49ers have, so this should play to his strengths most.
Manningham is also in a system which he believes will allow him to play fast.
This is important because the system makes the player, whether it's on offense or defense. The 49ers did not go after Vincent Jackson and ignored an opportunity to get Mike Wallace. It's not about finding the "best player," it's about finding the right one.
With his level of talent, playing in the 49ers system and not being the center of attention, Mario Manningham can take his game to another level. That, combined with his motivation, and Manningham could be earning a contract extension sooner rather than later.
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