With the San Francisco 49ers in a rebuilding season, trading up for Washington receiver Dante Pettis was a logical decision. Paired with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers have high expectations of the receiver/ quarterback duo. And for good reason.
Garoppolo has been groomed for three years and considered the successor of Tom Brady with the New England Patriots. Rumors floated that the trade was unnecessary and that Brady and coach Bill Belichick was upset at the situation. However, Belichick stated that he believed that Tom Brady has been the best quarterback in the league for a few years and with Garoppolo set to be a free agent it didn’t make sense to keep him around.
The 49ers gave up a 2nd round pick for Garoppolo’s talents, but the young quarterback racked up an impressive 5-0 record and over 1,500 yards in the air. A natural pocket passer, it shows that Garoppolo has learned from the league’s best and shows potential for sustainable growth with his new team.
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Enter Dante Pettis. A standout at the University of Washington, Pettis racked up an impressive 2,256 yards 24 touchdowns and has the NCAA record for most returns for a touchdown. At 6’1″ and listed at 195, Pettis is considered one of the larger prospects from the draft a wild card with a high ceiling. Behind Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin, Pettis does have the potential to find himself as a slot receiver, similar to Patriots receiver Julian Edelman.
The rookie also has his youth that can be his best asset yet. Similar to Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin, Pettis has the ability to start a strong connection early with the San Francisco’s new franchise quarterback. Both have a chance to be top ten quarterback/ wide receiver duo, and both have the work ethic to bring it all together. If that connection gels quickly, expect the 49ers to find themselves hovering around .500 if not higher.
The 49ers find themselves near the end of a rebuilding situation. With Garoppolo paired with Pettis, Washington may find themselves on the radar of top recruits more frequently. Pettis will have high expectations, but he has a strong case to become one of the best offensive rookies this season.