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How About Some Woods? - By Bryan Hersh

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In recent reports, head coach Dennis Erickson has stated that first round draft pick, receiver Rashaun Woods is the 5th string receiver and will continue to not see much play time. To be fair, Woods missed a ton of time this summer at training camp with an injury. As a result many fans including myself thought that while he might not be very effective at the start of the season, he most certainly would work his way onto the field by mid season. Well here we are, two games away from the middle of the 49ers season, and Woods is still on track to being a non-factor this season.

It is not uncommon for rookie receivers to take two or three years to really have a break out season. That of course though depends on play time. This year's receiver’s class was supposed to be different – and many of those drafted ahead of Woods are indeed making an impact on their respective teams. The receiver the 49ers drafted was supposed to play, mainly because of the lack of experience ahead of him, and yet Woods sits on the bench.

I have a problem with the 49ers sitting Woods on the bench. I really think that the 49ers first round pick this season had to be an impact player. I had and still have high hopes for Woods. But if he is not on the field he is not going to be a playmaker. The 49es needed their first round pick to contribute and so far he has not.

I see four possible reasons for this. The first, and most simply is that with Woods missing time this summer he could not be expected to be ready to contribute all out at the beginning of the season. The next is that the receivers ahead of Woods have done a fairly good job so far this season. None has really emerged as a go to guy, but it does not appear that either is making the mistakes that would allow Woods to sneak up the depth charts. The next I believe to be a coaching fault of simply not working Woods into the line up. From what I have seen when Woods is on the field the offense is more productive even if he is not catching the ball. Also Woods needs play time in order to develop. He should be on the field, even if it comes at the expense of another’s play time. If the team was trying to ‘win now’ that would be a different story, but at 1-5 I think it’s clear the 49ers need to be thinking future not present. My final reasoning is with Terry Donahue, who may or may not have gotten the right receiver in this year’s draft. I was and remain a big Woods supporter, but when I look around the league and see other receivers that the 49ers could have drafted performing better than Woods I have to question if the 49ers made the right moves in the first round.

It is early to evaluate the 49ers draft class. I admit that. It is early to evaluate any rookie receiver. I admit that too. But I have been expecting more from all of the 49ers first round picks over recent years in particular Rashaun Woods, and I remain disappointed. The question is then, is the lack of production from first round picks, indicative a greater problem with the 49ers. Is there a coaching or scouting, or general manager problem that is preventing the team from getting the top level talent, or playing that talent, or developing that talent? Only time will tell, but certainly this is something we should be monitoring closely, and certainly the team should be pushing Woods onto the field to see if they can get some production from him or at the very least get him valuable experience that will benefit him down the road.

 
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