SANTA CLARA, California (AP) " The San Francisco 49ers have had to remake their inexperienced receiving group on the fly this summer.
After losing projected contributors Bruce Ellington and Eric Rogers to season-ending injuries during training camp, the Niners made two late deals to acquire Jeremy Kerley and Rod Streater to bring in some needed experience to go along with Torrey Smith.
Before those trades, Smith was the only receiver on the 49ers roster who had more than 30 catches in a single season. With coach Chip Kelly often using at least three receivers at a time and running an up-tempo offense that requires a rotation at the position, it was paramount to add some help before the start of the season next Monday against the Los Angeles Rams.
"These guys going to have to play " like right away," Smith said Wednesday. "They have their work cut out for them this week, but we know they have the talent to get it done."
They join a group that also includes starter Quinton Patton and rookie Aaron Burbridge. But neither of those players has had as much production in their careers as Kerley and Streater have.
Kerley was acquired from Detroit to play the slot position after Ellington was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
Kerley has had success in that role in the past during his time with the New York Jets. He caught a career-high 56 passes for 827 yards in 2012 and had 43 catches the following year before his production started to taper off.
"We lost Bruce and we kind of replaced him with a guy that has similar traits," offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins said. "I think Jeremy's going to be very productive for us. I'm happy he's here."
Streater also has not put up big numbers in recent years, but the Niners hope he can revive his career and fill the void created on the outside when Rogers went down with a knee injury. The Niners had big plans for Rogers this season after signing him out of the CFL but had to adjust when he got hurt in a non-contact special teams drill early in camp.
Streater, a former undrafted free agent, caught 60 passes for 888 yards in his second NFL season with the Oakland Raiders in 2013. He played just three games the following year before breaking his foot and was relegated to inactive duty most of last season when he played just one game and caught only one pass.
"I like what Rod brings," Modkins said. "One, he has some length. He can run. He's had some production in this league and you know, when we lost Eric, we felt like Eric would kind of give us some of that downfield, a bigger guy that can move. I think Streater kind of replaces that."
Streater signed in the offseason with Kansas City before being acquired by San Francisco on Saturday prior to roster cuts. He arrived in the Bay Area on Sunday and immediately started putting in long days to learn the offense and to improve his conditioning for Kelly's fast-paced offense.
"He likes guys who can play inside and outside, with speed and you have to be smart," Streater said. "I feel like I learn the plays very fast. I play inside and outside. That's what's most important, learning the plays and being interchangeable."
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This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings