49ers’ offense will reap benefits of Bruce’s return

By Brad Wilbricht  |   Monday, April 06, 2009  |  Comments( 1 )

San Francisco 49ers
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Wide receiver Isaac Bruce, a 16-year NFL veteran, will return for at least one more season with the San Francisco 49ers. Bruce’s best playing days are behind him, but his return supplies the 49ers’ receiving corps with valuable experience and leadership.

While Bruce is still a capable performer, his days of stretching the field are over. However, he still provides San Francisco with a dependable possession receiver who can help mentor an otherwise young and inexperienced group of wideouts.

During his first season in the Bay Area, Bruce compiled respectable totals with 61 catches for 835 yards and seven touchdowns.

As part of a potent Rams offensive attack earlier in his career, Bruce surpassed 1,000 yards receiving on eight different occasions. His best season came back in 1995, when he amassed an astounding 119 catches for 1,781 yards and 13 touchdowns. For his career, he’s put up just over 1,000 receptions for nearly 15,000 yards along with 91 scores.

Although the 49ers have questions under center, there is also a great deal of uncertainly at the receiver position. Yes, Bruce’s return certainly brings a sense of stability, but there is still little proven firepower on the depth chart.

Josh Morgan, Jason Hill and Arnaz Battle have all been average receivers and one will need to emerge this year in order for the San Francisco offense to get back on track. Morgan was pegged by many as a potential breakout star a year ago, but that wasn’t the case. He managed only 20 catches for 319 yards and three touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Hill had just one reception as a rookie but showed improvement in 2008, compiling 30 receptions for 317 yards and two scores. Battle, a former college quarterback, could be the most polished of the three wideouts. He gained more that 600 yards receiving in two consecutive seasons before an injury-riddled 2008. Battle missed seven games last season but still managed 24 catches for 318 yards.

With this year’s draft containing a deep and talented class of receivers, there should be plenty of value available for the 49ers. With Bruce providing leadership and one of the other current wideouts on the brink of prominence, adding a young and explosive receiver in this month's draft could do wonders for the San Francisco offense.
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About Brad Wilbricht

Brad Wilbricht covers numerous sporting events including the NFL, NFL Draft and college football. His analysis is simulcast through several media outlets across the country. Additionally, Brad is a regular guest on a variety of talk radio shows and can be frequently heard on the airwaves. To...
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