49ers: Dante Pettis will need a huge preseason to save roster spot

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis will enter a make or break preseason this year needing an impressive showing to save his roster spot.

It wasn’t long ago that San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis appeared to have a bright future with the team. A second-round pick in 2018, Pettis looked well on his way to a feature role with the 49ers after a promising rookie campaign that was held back slightly by injury trouble.

But then everything fell apart in 2019.

After hauling in 27 receptions for 467 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie, Pettis would catch just 11 passes in 2019 totaling just over 100 yards. Rumors began swirling in the months leading into the season that the organization had questioned his work ethic.

This was made even more apparent when head coach Kyle Shanahan called out his young receiver when talking to the media. Maybe he was trying to light a fire underneath Pettis, but whatever the reason, it didn’t work.

Pettis quickly found himself in Shanahan’s doghouse and was passed up on the depth chart by countless young receivers. In many ways, the production the 49ers got from rookie Deebo Samuel in 2019 is what they hoped to get from Pettis.

And now, after an offseason in which the 49ers added a few new receivers into the mix Pettis arguably finds himself on the outside looking in when searching for a roster spot.

On the surface, that seems crazy. We all know how talented Pettis is and his playmaking ability is unmatched by really any receiver on the roster. But the NFL waits for no one — and neither do the 49ers.

San Francisco drafted Arizona State wideout Brandon Aiyuk in the first round this season. Similarly to how the team drafted Pettis two years prior, they traded up to ensure that they landed the dynamic Aiyuk.

Aiyuk will join a suddenly crowded wide receiver depth chart featuring 2019 holdovers such as Deebo Samuel, Kendrick Bourne, and Richie James. Meanwhile, the likes of Jalen Hurd and Trent Taylor will return after missing all of last season with injuries.

And the additions of Aiyuk, veteran Travis Benjamin, and seventh-round pick Jauan Jennings only further crowd the position. Pettis very well could be at the bottom of that list.

It’s going to take an impressive showing in the preseason for Pettis to get out of Shanahan’s doghouse and prove himself to the 49ers. Unfortunately, who knows if there will even be a preseason to play when all is set and done.

Next: 49ers: Analyzing the 4 hardest games on the 2020 schedule

Dante Pettis is playing on borrowed time and we may have very well seen him play his last regular-season game in a 49ers uniform.

Load Comments