One notable 49er who didn’t get to benefit from the addition of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017 was Pierre Garcon.
The team’s No. 1 wide receiver was injured midway through the season and on the sidelines by the time Garoppolo became a starter and led San Francisco to five straight victories.
Now, as players prepare to report for training camp on July 25, it’s anticipated that Garcon could have a big season catching passes for a young quarterback who excels in accuracy on short and intermediate routes and has a knack for hitting his receivers in stride.
While the 31-year-old Garcon is entering his 11th season in the NFL, he showed in eight games with the Niners that he’s still as effective as ever because of his smarts, precise routes, great hands and toughness. Even while playing with QBs Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard, Garcon caught 40 passes for 500 yards, which projects to an 80-catch, 1,000-yard season.
As Justin Wong of 49erswebzone wrote recently, while Garcon may not rank as a true No. 1 receiver: “Garcon and Garoppolo should be able to get on the same page in relatively short order given Garcon’s intermediate route-running ability and Garoppolo’s accuracy on such throws.” Garcon – in combination with Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor and second-round pick Dante Pettis – could form the foundation of a solid if not spectacular wide receiver corps.
During spring workouts, it appeared Garoppolo and Garcon developed a strong rapport that should be apparent again in training camp.
When Garoppolo was asked if having Garcon back and healthy is like having a security blanket, he agreed.
“Yeah, that’s a good way to put it,” Garoppolo said. “You know exactly what you’re going to get. P is as reliable as they come. He has that veteran mentality of he knows exactly what to do. He’s going to help you out, do whatever he can to put you in a good situation as the quarterback.”
And, when Garoppolo throws the ball Garcon’s way, chances are it will be caught. Garcon’s drop rate in 2017 was just 3.05 percent, the third-best rate in the NFL.