SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Whether through injuries, inexperience or a combination of the two, the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver corps has been a work in progress through the entire preseason.
As the Niners trimmed to their initial 53-man roster on Saturday, they sent an undisclosed draft pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for wideout Rod Streater and another undisclosed draft choice. It was a necessary move and the second trade bringing a receiver to the Bay Area in the span of about a week.
Streater joins a receiver corps that only goes five deep and also includes veteran slot receiver Jeremy Kerley, whom the 49ers acquired in a trade with Detroit last week.
Like with Kerley, the Niners are getting someone who has an NFL resume. Streater signed with the Chiefs as a free agent in the offseason after playing in just one game for the Oakland Raiders in 2015. In four seasons on the other side of the bay, the former undrafted free agent out of Temple had 109 receptions for 1,564 yards and eight touchdowns.
Streater's best season was 2013, when he had 60 catches for 888 yards and four touchdowns. Only Torrey Smith's 2013 season ranks above that production in yards and receptions among wideouts remaining on the roster.
San Francisco coach Chip Kelly said the Niners were searching for a bigger, more physical wideout after losing Eric Rogers to a knee injury early in camp. Streater is listed at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds.
"Obviously, he’s a tall, long target," Kelly said. "We felt that's what we had in Eric. He's really an outside receiver for us. He has 109 catches in this league, so he's proven he can play. He's coming off a 60-catch season. I think it's just his experience. We felt it was a big blow to us when we lost Eric in the preseason, so to get another outside receiver to complement Torrey Smith and Quinton Patton was a maneuver we had to make."
It also shouldn't be the last move the Niners make in an effort to bolster a receiving corps in need of help. The five receivers on the roster as of Saturday are Smith, Streater, Patton, Kerley and rookie Aaron Burbridge. The 49ers released Devon Cajuste, Bryce Treggs, Ryan Whalen, Dres Anderson, DeAndrew White and DeAndre Smelter (waived/injured) on Saturday. They earlier lost Rogers and Bruce Ellington (hamstring) for the season.
It's probably a good bet the Niners will look to bring back at least two of the released receivers for the practice squad, if only to have enough bodies for practice. It also wouldn't be a surprise if they continue to keep looking for pass-catching help.
In 2015, 49ers receivers and tight ends combined for 235 catches and 2,967 yards, which ranked 30th in the NFL. As with any corps of young wideouts, drops were also an issue as the tight ends and wideouts finished 29th in the NFL with a drop percentage of 4.9.
Among the notable receiver names to hit the waiver wire Saturday were Cecil Shorts III, Justin Hunter, Marc Mariani and T.J. Jones. Shorts has played with quarterback Blaine Gabbert before, Hunter would offer even more size than Streater, Mariani could add competition in the slot and Jones has the versatility to play any of the receiver positions.