Taking a very early look at the 49ers 53-man roster, CSNbayarea.com beat writer Matt Maiocco projected fourth-round selection Quinton Patton among the wide receiver "locks." Also in that category, Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, but not Mario Mannigham and A.J. Jenkins . Several draft touts talked up the Patton before the draft, but the talented Louisiana Tech product slipped into the middle rounds. So why the early hype in terms of sticking with the team? Because head coach Jim Harbaugh already tagged Patton as "my favorite player" after the rookie flew out to the 49ers headquarters on his own dime before mini-camp because he was excited to begin his pro career.
Considering Patton's potential, it would be hardly stunning should he indeed make the roster. The real intrigue involves Manningham, considered the third receiver behind Crabtree and Boldin, and Jenkins, the 49ers No. 1 selection last season. The ex-Giant already agreed to a $1.8 million pay cut after the 49ers acquired Boldin so Manningham should ultimately be on the roster come September. Yet with Patton, Jenkins (zero catches in three games) and Kyle Williams, San Francisco has several options at receiver. Manningham (42-449-1 last year) parlayed his Super Bowl success with the Giants into a payday and enhanced role elsewhere, but he's certainly back to supporting cast mode. Depending on how much Harbaugh loves Patton, Manningham might not stay atop that group the entire season.