It appears Baldwin will get a chance for extra playing time now that Patton has a broken foot. The rookie was hurt in the San Francisco 49ers’ 35-11 win at St. Louis on Thursday, and will miss several weeks. Patton was working as the No. 2 receiver when he was hurt.
Baldwin, Kyle Williams and Marlon Moore will get more work, while Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis will remain the top options. Mario Manningham could come back from an injury in a month. Michael Crabtree could return from a torn Achilles in December.
In the meantime, Baldwin is the most intriguing option the 49ers have. He was acquired in August from Kansas City for former first-round pick A.J. Jenkins. Baldwin was inactive for the first three games before playing solidly at St. Louis.
Baldwin was considered a potential star for the Chiefs, but he never put it together. It sounds as if 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is ready to see if Baldwin is ready to be a contributor.
“He’s got a competitive heart,” Harbaugh said of Baldwin. “I had that feeling about him.”
With Patton down, we’ll see what Baldwin can do.