Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Perhaps the biggest offseason pickup this year? Anquan Boldin to the 49ers.
Oh, did the oft-cited sports cliché of next man up ever find a better application?
Lower depth-chart concerns notwithstanding, Anquan Boldin has done nothing but totally fill the void left by injured No. 1 wideout Michael Crabtree.
The Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows articulated it best when he said it looks “as if he'd been playing with Colin Kaepernick for 10 years rather than a few weeks”—even in the beginning of camp.
The 49ers’ marquee offseason addition has hauled in seemingly everything thrown his way. He has offered Kaepernick a reliable target both underneath and downfield.
In his usual security blanket-like fashion, Boldin out-muscled Tramaine Brock and Michael Thomas for a 25-yard catch on the very first day of training camp, as reported by CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco. He’s simply one of the best at shielding defenders.
Both Maiocco and Barrows continually reported on Boldin’s “prolific outing[s],” including a July 30th practice, in which he logged seven receptions out of eight targets.
Yet, Boldin’s importance to the 49ers extends far beyond his physical skill set.
He has provided a guiding presence not only for the multitude of younger receivers, but also to San Francisco’s defensive backs, who constantly pick his brain for tips on coverage techniques.
Kaepernick conveyed in Maiocco’s latest piece how Boldin helps both the offense and defense through his vast football intelligence:
I think it's going great…He makes it very easy on quarterbacks. He's a savvy guy…He knows what the defense is doing…[and] where the weak spots in the defense are, and where he wants to get to. He helps me see things more from his perspective. As a receiver, what they're looking at and what they need from a quarterback to help them be successful.
And successful is exactly what he and Kaepernick have been every step of the way this offseason.