The San Francisco 49ers selected wide receiver Dante Pettis 44th overall in the 2018 NFL draft. Pettis played football at the University of Washington and was most known for how effective he was a return man. During his college career, he set the NCAA record for most punt return touchdowns, having nine in his college career. He was drafted with high hopes, but will he live up to them? And if so how long will it take for him to emerge?
49ers Rookie Spotlight: Dante Pettis
A Look at the Depth Chart
Going into training camp Pettis is currently listed as the fourth receiver on the team. The current roster configuration for the team is Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin battling for the number one spot with Trent Taylor in the slot. None of which have ever been viewed as true number one threat in an offense. In terms of production, Garcon has been the most productive of the bunch. He has posted two seasons over 1,000 yards and has had over 700 yards seven out of the ten years he has been in the league. Still, there is no definitive number one receiver in this offense and the door is wide open for anyone to step up and become that guy for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Goodwin should serve as the team’s second receiver. He has the most NFL experience of this group outside of Garcon. This does leave the teams third receiver open for the taken, however.
Pettis has a lot of room to increase his role and lock down a starting job this summer during training camp and the preseason. He is currently sitting behind Aldrick Robinson on the depth chart and has a good chance to beat him out. Pettis offers good route running and separation ability on all three levels of the field. These traits should allow him to see the field a good bit as a rookie.
Possible Impact Level
After being only the fourth receiver taken in the 2018 draft, it’s safe to say that Pettis has a lot of expectations from the 49ers front office and from fans. Luckily Pettis should provide instant impact for the team as a return man. He is currently listed as the team’s kickoff and punt return man, areas where he excels in.
As a receiver, his impact will depend on where on the roster he falls. Like I stated above, Pettis has a real good chance to cement himself as the team third receiving option before the season starts.
While Pettis might not be in line to be a top receiving option in this offense in 2018 he has a chance to be one in the upcoming years. Going from college to the NFL is a big step for every player, no matter who they are. There are many differences between the game and the level of play and it takes time for players to adjust. Some players can adjust faster than others and some take serious time to get into the groove of things. Pettis is a guy who you might see struggle early one but pick it up as the season goes by.
Don’t be surprised if he becomes a reliable target for Garoppolo as the season progresses and becomes more of a focal point in the receiving game by next season.