Why Dante Pettis Can Win Offensive Rookie of the Year

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 28: Wide receiver Dante Pettis
SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 28: Wide receiver Dante Pettis /
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As San Francisco builds an offense around quarterback, Washington Football new rookie receiver Dante Pettis could win NFL Rookie of the year

The San Francisco 49ers traded up to the 44thoverall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft to select former Washington Football wide receiver Dante Pettis. The immediate conclusion? The 49ers clearly have high expectations for him. Pettis, along with Jimmy Garoppolo are going to try to lead a youth movement for a 9ers team that hasn’t seen the playoffs since 2013.

Pettis will get a chance to shine next to talented wide receivers like Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor and Pierre Garcon. And there is plenty of reason to expect that passing game to explode in the 2018 NFL season.   Yes, there is that cannon of a quarterback’s arm under center. But what of the running game?

Running on empty

Outside of Jerick McKinnon, there are major questions at running back for the 49ers. It looks like Jeremy McNichols and Joe Williams will be competing for the number two slot with Matt Breida. While any of the three could surprise this season, you cannot believe the 49ers are planning to run the ball much. Without a true running threat, the 49ers may opt to manufacture run-like offensive plays with possession passing. That lines up with Pettis’ strengths.

With George Kittle and Garrett Celek at tight end, Pettis should be able to see his fair share of work. Look for him to start early and often with the Niners, and to see a lot of targets. Pettis has deceptive speed, and incredible hands, which will quickly make him Jimmy Garoppolo’s best friend. To read more on Dante’s full scouting report, check mine out here.

Tough get going

The 49ers have a pretty tough schedule this year when it comes to opposing secondaries, but don’t expect Pettis to face the opposition’s number one corner every week. This will work to his advantage, since San Fran are going to have to face highly lauded defensive backs by the names of Casey Hayward, Xavier Rhodes, Patrick Peterson, Marcus Peters and more.

Working against some number two or even number three corners will put Pettis in line for some huge weeks. Jimmy Garoppolo will have a field day with some of those corners, and Pettis, who is great on comebacks and inside breaking routes, will get his fair share of targets.