SANTA CLARA -- Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Stevie Johnson, the 49ers’ top three wide receivers last season, are all similar in style.
Having a speed option like Torrey Smith should be a benefit to those who remain, including quarterback Colin Kaepernick and tight end Vernon Davis, Boldin said Wednesday.
“You had a bunch of guys in the same mold,” Boldin said. “Guys that really were route-runners underneath, got yards after the catch. Myself, Crab and Stevie, we’re all in that mold.”
Crabtree is not expected to return as a free agent, and the 49ers are expected to release Johnson after the signing of Smith, who has averaged 16.9 yards per reception during his four-year career.
“I work underneath, more intermediate routes, things like that,” said Boldin, who played two seasons together with Smith and won a Super Bowl as members of the Baltimore Ravens. “He’s a guy that takes the top off the defense. With that, we complement each other.”
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Boldin said he believes Kaepernick is fully capable of connecting with Smith – an aspect of the 49ers’ offense that was missing last season. Kaepernick attempted the seventh-most passes of 20 yards or more last season, according to Pro Football Focus. However, his completion rate was just 33 percent.
“I’ve seen it,” Boldin said. “Not this past season, but the season before. Him and Vernon connected on several deep passes, so it’s not that he doesn’t have the ability to throw deep. It’s just that at times we just didn’t call it. But I definitely think he has the ability to throw the ball down the field.”
“It all plays a part in the big picture. When you have Torrey outside stretching the field and me working intermediate, it gives Vernon a chance to go one-on-one. And to be honest with you, I don’t think any safety or linebacker can run with Vernon one on one. Hopefully, we can take advantage of that.”