San Francisco 49ers: Dante Pettis is primed for a breakout 2019 season

49ers, Dante Pettis (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
49ers, Dante Pettis (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers will be looking for a breakout season from talented young wide receiver Dante Pettis when the team takes the field in 2019.

The San Francisco 49ers saw plenty of promise from first-year wide receiver Dante Pettis in his rookie season last year. But the team is hoping that what they saw was only a sign of greater things to come.

Pettis was drafted by the 49ers with the 44th pick in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft after the team traded up to snag the promising wideout. But after an impressive summer and an encouraging Week 1, the injury bug struck.

Knee injuries began to pile up for Pettis and he didn’t catch a single pass from Week 3 to Week 9. However, he would return in Week 10 to play the New York Giants and record four catches for just 12 receiving yards.

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It was an underwhelming return to the offense, but one that would soon be forgotten about.

Because over the next four weeks, Pettis began to truly show what he was capable of. The Washington product would total 17 catches for 338 yards and four TD’s over that timeframe quickly establishing himself as a go-to target on offense.

During those four weeks, Pettis ranked ninth in the league in yards and second in TD receptions showing the true potential of the explosive wideout. Another knee injury would once again cut his season short, but the few weeks that Pettis was actually healthy showed the immense potential that he has.

Now healthy once again, Pettis will be looking to take advantage of a 49ers receiving core stout with depth, but lacking top-tier talent. The team doubled-up at receiver this year adding both South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel and Baylor’s Jalen Hurd in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Samuel and Hurd should join Pettis and others in a newly revamped, young 49ers receiver group. However, neither of them project as true No. 1 targets.

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The same could be said for petty much every other receiver on the roster.

Veteran Marquise Goodwin has the most career success but the speedster has never been a No. 1-caliber receiver. The same goes for Jordan Matthews who has regularly served as a No. 2 or 3 option throughout his career.

And last year’s leading receiver Kendrick Bourne just doesn’t have the traits that show promise of a potential star receiver. Pettis is really the only guy on the roster who has that potential.

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He has the ability to work from the slot or on the boundary and his impressive route-running gives him a relatively high floor. On top of that, Pettis is an explosive athlete who can burst past corners even with 5-10 yards of breathing room.

That said, Pettis is nowhere near a complete receiver just yet. He needs to get more physical when breaking out of his routes and the inconsistency that plagued him last season is something that followed him even while at Washington.

But first and foremost, he needs to stay healthy.

The early reports are that Pettis is already impressing in training camp this year and that’s good news for a 49ers team looking to see one of their receivers emerge as a standout target.

And with a returning Jimmy Garoppolo, Pettis could very well put up some pretty impressive numbers this season and emerge as the team’s top wideout. He will need to improve upon some inconsistencies, but most importantly, he will need to stay healthy.

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But that probably goes for the entire 49ers roster too if they’d like to improve upon last year.