49ers Improve WR Group With Roster Move Before NFC Championship

Mohamed Sanu

Getty Mohamed Sanu #6 of the San Francisco 49ers catches the ball during pregame warm-ups before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium on November 7, 2021.

There are just a handful of days before the San Francisco 49ers play in the NFC Championship, and they’re increasing their ranks.

On Wednesday, the Niners announced that veteran wide receiver Mohamed Sanu is being activated from the injured reserve list ahead of Sunday’s clash with the Los Angeles Rams.

“The #49ers have activated WR Mohamed Sanu Sr. from the Injured Reserve List,” San Francisco tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

Sanu has not played since Week 9, when he initially injured his knee per NBC Sports and was placed on the injured reserve. The 32-year-old receiver was designated to return a few weeks ago but had not made it back fully until now.

While Sanu hasn’t been a major factor this season, the 49ers certainly won’t complain about having another offensive weapon to potentially choose from for a major game this weekend.

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Sanu in San Francisco

Before arriving in Santa Clara, California in 2020, Sanu became a recognizable name with the Cincinnati Bengals and then the Atlanta Falcons, where he played under current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan for one season in 2016.

Sanu only played in three games in 2020 before being released from the 49ers in October of last season, but was resigned this past offseason to the 49ers as a cheap depth piece that can also assist younger receivers with his experience.

As the numbers at PFR show, Sanu has brought down 15 receptions for 177 yards on 24 targets. The former Rutgers star hasn’t started in a game this year, which is part of the reason for his low volume, besides the obvious time missed due to injury.

His 11.8 yards per reception is something that the 49ers won’t mind having back, with Sanu’s hands being trusty enough to go get separation and pick up those intermediate chunks every passing offense needs.

49ers Receiver Ranked as No. 1 in the NFL

While Sanu is expected to play a supporting role the rest of this campaign, fellow wide receiver Deebo Samuel will play an integral one. After 1770 total yards from scrimmage and 14 total TDs in the regular season, he’s added 193 total yards and a touchdown in the playoffs.

One person that is very high on Deebo’s talent is legendary Rams coach Dick Vermeil. Vermeil won the Super Bowl with the Rams after the 1999 season but has been a part of the NFL for the better part of three decades, and in his experience, he doesn’t think he’s seen someone like Deebo.

“Everybody uses the term ‘great wide receiver’ too often today,” Vermeil said on 95.7 The Game. “All NFL wide receivers catch the ball extremely well. None of them advance the ball after the catch like Deebo. To me, he is the No. 1 receiver in the league because of his total capacity to enhance a well-designed play, catch the ball and make it explosive.”

Vermeil went on to add context to his assertion. The former Rams coach says that many of the NFL’s best receivers have the exceptional catching ability that you’re looking for, but they can’t make plays happen afterward like Deebo can.

“There are guys who catch the ball extremely well. In fact, they all catch the ball better today than they have in the history of the league. They all make one-handed catches. They are not unique. But [Sameul] is unique in how explosive he is after he catches the ball.”

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