Sports Out West

49ers sign Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins to add WR depth

Photo Credit: Davidle Bovits / Palm Beach Post

The San Francisco 49ers signed wide receivers Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins to one-year contracts on Friday in order to add much-needed depth at the position, according to CSNBayArea.com.

Both players were part of a group that also included veteran wideout Laurent Robinson who the Niners invited to attend practice and work out. Both were impressive enough to warrant consideration for the 53-man roster post training camp. 

San Francisco has had its share of injuries and misfortune on both sides of the ball, but wide receiver has been the Achilles’ heel of the team. Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham are on the phsically-unable-to-perform list, while second-year player A.J. Jenkins is banged up and slow to pick up the nuances of the pro game. Kyle Williams, Kassim Osgood and Quinton Patton are all nursing minor injuries and have been limited in practice.

Jenkins, in particular, is a curious case. He hasn’t progressed as quickly as the team would like, and that’s caused problems as they try to determine who will start opposite Anquan Boldin

Neither of the newest additions to the wide receiving corps come baggage-free. Hawkins is coming off an ankle injury that limited him to just seven games last season, while Collie has struggled to stay on the field with a string of concussions. The 49ers will slowly get each of their cornerstone skill players back as time wears on, but in the meantime, they have to add enough pieces to make it through camp. It’s feasible that either player could leapfrog the incumbents, yet unlikely. 

For now, the Niners just want to make it through camp with enough healthy receivers to play their first preseason game, which is against the Denver Broncos on August 8th. 

Photo Credit: Davidle Bovits / Palm Beach Post

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.