Niners Have Great Expectations for Receiving Corps

Second-year wideout Dante Pettis, who flashed potential in 2018, could be set for a breakout season

The 49ers begin a new, more intense phase of offseason workouts Monday, with organized team activities (OTAs).

Now, veterans and rookies will get their chance to start competing for jobs and playing time in 2019.

One of the more interesting scenarios is what will happen with the team’s wide receiver corps. A pair of high draft picks, Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd — and a veteran free agent, Jordan Matthews — have been added to a group of holdovers that includes Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne and Richie James.

As Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group wrote, this will be an interesting competition. And, he wrote, the 49ers will be eager to see what Pettis can do as he works toward the start of his second pro year.

Although an injury impacted the early portion of his season, Pettis came on strong in the second half and finished with 27 catches for 467 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games. He averaged a terrific 17.3 yards per catch and showed good hands and speed.

Now, bigger things are expected. Inman wrote the 49ers have "advertised their desire for Pettis to break out in his second season the way tight end George Kittle did last year."

That, of course, would be a tall order, in that Kittle set an NFL record for single-season receiving yards at his position. But 50 to 60 catches? Or 1,000 or more yards? That could be a realistic expectation.

But, plenty of other young receivers are hungry to prove themselves, too. Competiton will be fierce.

Yet Pettis has shown he can play at this level. Now he could be poised for more, and his work in OTAs now can give the 49ers a hint of what's in store, if he can show well against a strong cast.

Wrote Inman: "Pettis can use this final month to validate those Year 2 hopes. He won’t just be handed more opportunities."

The analytic website Pro Football Focus recently suggested Pettis could pair with the rookie Samuel to "form one of the most dynamic receiving corps in the league."

Will it happen? The OTAs are a first step.

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