Anquan Boldin told reporters in June that Crabtree is "a lot more explosive." Colin Kaepernick said No. 15 "has a lot more burst."
Crabtree is primed for a big season.
But topping his 2012 numbers (1,105 receiving yards, nine TDs) is unlikely because the 49ers have more mouths to feed.
Boldin, Vernon Davis and Stevie Johnson are going to get their share of targets. The 49ers don't throw the ball enough to make any of their wide receivers a Pro Bowl candidate.
Crabtree has the best chance of the wide receiver group, though. He had 55 catches for 823 yards and seven touchdowns in San Francisco's last eight games of 2012 (playoffs included). Of course, he accumulated those numbers without Boldin or Johnson.
Crabtree is a long shot when going up against Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Julio Jones and Jordy Nelson in just his own conference.
Last year was a frustrating season for Davis. The 49ers' run game took a step back, and Davis was one reason why.
His Pro Football Focus run block rating fell from 18.4 in 2012 to 3.7 in 2013 (subscription required).
Davis had offseason shoulder surgery. If healthy, he could return to being the mauling run-blocker he was in 2012. If so, he'll be in the thick of the tackle Pro Bowl chase, but it's likely teammate Joe Staley will get the most credit for improvement from San Francisco's offensive line.
Even if Kaepernick sets career highs in most statistical categories, he's still going to have a tough time beating out Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady (as long as they stay healthy). That only leaves two spots.
Kap will have to top most, if not all, of the following: Matt Ryan, Nick Foles, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton.
I don't see that happening.
Gore had just one 100-yard performance in his last 13 games of the 2013 season (playoffs included). The 31-year-old should get plenty of rest this season with backups Carlos Hyde, Marcus Lattimore and LaMichael James ready to make an impact (if they can stay healthy).
With the talent at running back in the NFL, the only way Gore gets another Pro Bowl nod is if several players voted in before him elect to sit out.
Andy Lee/Phil Dawson
The punter and placekicker are in the top tier of their respective positions. However, only two players are chosen from each position.
I'd give Lee, a three-time Pro Bowler, a slightly better chance to get voted in, but they are both long shots.