Washington football’s record-breaking wide receiver and punt returner Dante Pettis was taken in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, how did he fair?
The 49ers traded up to pick number 44 overall to select Washington football’s Dante Pettis (not to toot my own horn once again, but just another pick I was right about) and he was excellent during his time on the field during his first NFL campaign. He dealt with a knee injury that kept him sidelined for a few weeks, and sprained his MCL in Week 16 against the Bears, but he proved to be productive when he got his opportunities.
What the scouts were saying: “Dante Pettis’ production as an underneath option, deep threat and punt returner gives him excellent NFL value. As a pure receiver he’s not worthy of a Round 3 pick, but add in what he brings in the return game and he’s potentially an earlier pick. If Pettis can land with a team that’ll use his inside/outside route skills, he could be a major hit.” – Matt Miller, Bleacher Report.
What they’re saying now: “I didn’t like him coming out, but I’m starting to see his value as a speed guy in that scheme. So I’m hopeful he can become the deep threat and returner that’ll scare defenses.” Miller said when asked about how he felt about Pettis after his first year.
Pettis was pretty productive in his first year, he had to work with three different quarterbacks, which is tough for any receiver, let alone a rookie. Between Jimmy Garoppolo, C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens, Pettis caught 27 passes for 467 yards and five touchdowns. He really picked it up down the stretch, with his best game coming against the Seahawks, where he exploded for 129 yards and two touchdowns on five catches. That’s just a glimpse into Pettis’ very bright future.
Pettis’ route running ability was great in college, and only got better in Kyle Shanahan‘s offense.
Expect Pettis to make a big leap forward during his second season with a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback. With the breakout of George Kittle this season, Pettis will see a lot of one on one coverage on the outside. The progression of Pettis shows in the box score, as he saw five-plus targets in each of his last six games. There are big things in store for Pettis in San Francisco.