Why Donte Whitner believes 49ers need to add true No. 1 wide receiver

Ali Thanawalla

Somehow, the 49ers are 6-0 without a legit threat at wide receiver.

General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan have tried to address the position through the last few NFL drafts, but Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd have yet to pay off.

Prior to the 49ers' 9-0 win over Washington on Sunday, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported, citing league sources, that San Francisco is "aggressively pursuing multiple options at wide receiver."

You can count NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Donte Whitner as a fan of that idea.

"You don't have that No. 1 guy. You have a bunch of No. 2s and No. 3s, and Kittle is your No. 1 guy, but as you saw today, they paid special attention to him," Whitner said on 49ers Postgame Live. "They were bumping him with defensive linemen, they were bumping him with linebackers, there was one play out there where he had three guys around him when they threw the football to him in the middle of the field. You need a definitive No. 1 guy to pull that extra guy out of the box, to allow this running game to continue to flourish, and that's when you can take another leap towards winning a championship."

Kittle, an All-Pro tight end, is nearly 200 yards clear of the 49ers' top receiver this season. Marquise Goodwin has 181 receiving yards, while Kittle is at 376 after Sunday's game. Samuel leads all San Francisco wideouts with 15 catches, and he didn't play in Washington.

La Canfora mentioned several intriguing names that are of interest to the 49ers: Cincinnati's A.J. Green, Denver's Emmanuel Sanders, Atlanta's Mohamed Sanu, Miami's DeVante Parker and Chicago's Taylor Gabriel.

Any of those five would instantly be an upgrade over what the 49ers currently have in house.

Whitner also brought up a name he's been pushing for the last couple of weeks: disgruntled free agent Antonio Brown.

"Hopefully they get a trade, sometime soon, maybe A.J. Green, maybe one of these guys that's on the trading block, maybe Antonio Brown once he clears up everything that he needs to clear up," Whitner said. "But they need this guy because as you go further in the playoffs or towards the end of the season, you play better defensive back units that are on the details of their job and it's hard to beat that coverage man-to-man, so they need that guy."

[RELATED: Whitner believes 49ers can go deep in playoffs]

The 49ers have made it this far without a true No. 1 receiver, but Whitner is right. If they want to win Super Bowl LIV in February, they are going to need a big-time target for Jimmy Garoppolo.

Time for Lynch and Shanahan to swing for the fences.

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Why Donte Whitner believes 49ers need to add true No. 1 wide receiver originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area