49ers Working Out Bears’ Former First-Round Receiver: Report

GETTY Kevin White #11 of the Chicago Bears runs after a catch as Deion Jones #45 of the Atlanta Falcons closes in during the season opening game at Soldier Field on September 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Falcons defeated the Bears 23-17.

With San Francisco 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk dealing with a week-to-week hamstring injury, the team is considering their options.

A flurry of injuries, opt-outs and recoveries have left the 49ers receiving groups a little barren, which has prompted the signing of former Indianapolis Colts tight end Erik Swoope.

Now, the team is working out another group of receivers, with former Chicago Bears WR Kevin White highlighting the list which includes former Las Vegas Raiders weapon Johnny Holton, former Atlanta Falcons receiver Justin Hardy and former Denver Broncos option River Cracraft.

Hardy has the most impressive resume of the bunch, but White was a sensation coming out of West Virginia, only to suffer a series of unfortunate injuries as he began his professional career.

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The Receivers’ Track Records

Cracroft is likely the most unknown of the group, and that’s mainly due to the fact that his only NFL snaps have been as a punt returner.

The takeaway from his workout? The 49ers are still looking for returning options to ensure they’re ready. The team has a plethora of options already, but with the injury bug going around, they’re playing it safe.

As for Holton, some fans may have caught his name during his 2017 season, where he contributed three touchdowns and 217 yards for the Raiders.

However, he eventually faded back into a lesser role before joining the Pittburgh Steelers in 2019 where he tallied 21 receiving yards.

Hardy is where things get a bit more enticing. The former East Carolina standout has maintained a consistent spot with the Falcons after joining Atlanta in the fourth-round of the 2015 NFL Draft, and has posted 946 receiving yards and nine touchdowns over five seasons.

While never a starter or major contributor, Hardy’s proven value as a No. 4 or No. 5 receiver makes his appearance a bit more interesting, and it’ll be worth seeing if the 49ers sign him.

White rounds out the group, and is probably the name that most recognize. The No. 7 overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, White had high expectations that were sadly undercut by recurring injuries.

Missing full seasons in 2015 and 2019, White has never reached an NFL endzone and has just 285 total receiving yards in the 14 games he’s played.

While there isn’t many stats or context that gives expectation for White’s career to turn upward, a change of scenery and a unique offseason may set up the former Mountaineer for a surprise return with the 49ers.

Who Should the 49ers Sign?

Of this group, it’s unlikely any would make the final roster save for more injuries and issues, which is obviously not an impossibility.

Still, it makes sense to consider some potential options like White and Hardy, who had tremendously high ceilings coming out of college and are still young enough at 28-years-old to make an impact.

It’s a continued trend that the team is not just working out players to deal with injury, but to also try and improve the team anywhere they can ahead of a 2020 season that has a Super Bowl title as the primary goal.

Among the group, Hardy seems like the best overall choice. If White is showing flashes of the player he was coming out of college, than he may force the issue, but the primary expectation will be that the 49ers add Hardy as potential competition for a still-changing receiver group.

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Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.

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