The list of wide receivers drafted by Trent Baalke continues to shrink.
The 49ers on Thursday released Bruce Ellington, a former fourth-round draft pick whose tenure has been marked by injuries, including a hamstring strain that kept him out of spring practices.
Kyle Shanahan said the 49ers simply had too many small-framed, slot receivers and the team wanted to give Ellington a chance to catch on elsewhere.
“I thought we were a little front-loaded with inside guys,” he said.
Ellington has been healthy for training camp but began the summer session behind incumbent slot receiver Jeremy Kerley and draft pick Trent Taylor. The 49ers added two receivers, Louis Murphy and Tim Patrick, this week. Patrick is 6-foot-4; Murphy is 6-2.
Ellington’s ouster means Aaron Burbridge and DeAndre Smelter are the only 49ers receivers drafted by the previous regime. Burbridge has a chance to make the team this year because of his special teams ability – he’s proven to be a rough-and-tumble gunner on punt coverage. Smelter has had two strong practices this week.
Ellington caught 19 passes for 215 yards in three seasons. He also served as the team’s top punt returner in 2014.
Et cetera – The 49ers listed DeForest Buckner as day to day with an ankle injury. Buckner, who suffered the injury Wednesday, was walking around without a noticeable limp on Thursday.
▪ NaVorro Bowman was among four veterans who got a day off. That allowed rookie Reuben Foster to play with the first-team at middle linebacker. Foster made the most of the opportunity with two would-be sacks and a batted-down pass. Joe Staley, Pierre Garcon and Jeremy Zuttah also did not practice.
▪ A notably physical practice left several 49ers nicked on Thursday, including running back Tim Hightower, linebacker Brock Coyle and guard Norman Price.