Nathaniel Peters-Kroll

Gold New World: 5 Bold 49ers Predictions

Created on Sept. 03, 2013 2:08 PM EST

3. Patton Steps Into Bigger Role

Michael Crabtree is set to return sometime in November. As we saw from Terrell Suggs’ Achilles injury last season, he will not be full strength until 2014. Likewise, Mario Manningham is out until at least Week 6 recovering from a torn ACL. Additionally, Kyle Williams isn’t completely over a sore hamstring after coming off the preseason PUP list due to his torn ACL. I’ve gone on and on about the 49ers’ receiver situation this preseason. If Colin Kaepernick is to take that step to MVP-level quarterback, he’s going to need another wide receiver to step into the void.

By the end of the season, Quinton Patton will be a more favored target of Kaepernick’s than even Anquan Boldin. A fractured hand early in camp slowed Patton, which wasn’t a great sign — especially with Kaepernick’s fastball coming in hot. However, Jim Harbaugh raved about the rookie's work ethic and he was still running routes with the team, just not catching passes, while injured. When he returned for the final two preseason games, he turned heads with his ability to get open and amazing run-after-catch ability. The Niners will play whoever establishes chemistry with their quarterback and gets open. In just a few short weeks, in my opinion, Patton may very well seize that position.

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