The 49ers made some changes to their receiving corps in the offseason, including trading up in the first round of the draft to select Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. One of the reasons the 49ers needed to add another high-value receiver is because of some struggles from that group a season ago.
While Jalen Hurd and Trent Taylor battled through injuries, Dante Pettis struggled to find the consistency necessary to garner regular playing time. He wound up a healthy scratch for the Super Bowl after not playing a single snap the final six weeks of the season.
Despite a disappointing second year from Pettis, general manager John Lynch is still optimistic the 2018 second-round pick can contribute on offense. He talked about Pettis on Thursday during on interview on Joe, Lo and Dibs on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco.
“I know a lot of people have soured on him, but we haven’t,” Lynch said. “He didn’t come to camp ready to play last year physically. And we challenged him — that’s got to change, because we believe if he does, he’s a guy who can really excel in our offense.”
Pettis as a rookie flashed some of the ability that excited the 49ers enough to trade up in the second round for him. He battled injuries, but still managed 467 yards and five touchdowns on 27 catches in 12 games. He entered Year 2 with the expectation that he’d be the team’s leading receiver. His poor training camp showing carried over to the season where he posted just 11 catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
Perhaps 2019 was more indicative of where Pettis ultimately fits on an NFL roster. However, he was good enough as a rookie that the 49ers aren’t going to give up on him without giving him another shot to prove his worth as a regular member of the receiving corps.
If he does, the 49ers’ second-round investment will help elevate their offense while Aiyuk gains his NFL legs. If he doesn’t and starts slow in camp, he’ll likely find himself wearing another uniform regardless of how much Lynch and the 49ers believe in him.