49ers’ 2019 ‘Who Is?’ series: Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin

SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 30: Marquise Goodwin #11 of the San Francisco 49ers stands on the sidelines during their preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi's Stadium on August 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 30: Marquise Goodwin #11 of the San Francisco 49ers stands on the sidelines during their preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi's Stadium on August 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

After a down year in 2018, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin could see a role change as he looks to get back to the numbers he enjoyed two years before. What are the chances of that happening, though?

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin enjoyed a “tale of two seasons” between 2017 and 2018, starting off as the Niners’ top receiver after joining the team in free agency two years ago, then falling well short of expectations last season.

Granted, last year’s regression can be explained both by injury and personal tragedy, which ultimately limited the 28 year old to just 11 games and a far cry from the numbers he posted the year before.

Marquise Goodwin Receiving Table
4 yr4 yrBUF39101114978015.96841.320.044.1%7.02
2 yr2 yrSFO272414879135717.26832.950.353.4%9.21

Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/31/2019.

Goodwin’s 2018 campaign looked more like the relatively lackluster years he went through, previously, with the Buffalo Bills.

If anything, all of San Francisco’s wide receivers underdelivered last season, prompting the Niners to bring aboard three notable wideouts during the offseason: Jordan Matthews and the rookies, Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd.

As a result, this position should see some relatively intense competition between now and Week 1, of which Goodwin will be a part.

Will the 49ers’ speedster get back to the numbers seen in 2017? Or are the stats from 2018 more indicative of what happens this year?

Niner Noise’s “Who Is?” series takes a deeper look.

Why Marquise Goodwin Improves in 2019

Head coach Kyle Shanahan previously indicated he’d like to use Goodwin situationally, instead of relying on him as a regular starter.

While this ultimately will cut into Goodwin’s snap count in 2019, it should save him from the rigors of a full 16-game season. Goodwin has an injury history, so keeping him fresh should allow him to put his improved skills to use with more impact.

“Less is more,” so to speak.

It wouldn’t be a shock to see defenses focus their attention more on some of the Niners’ other pass catchers, namely second-year pro Dante Pettis and Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle, who should help to free up Goodwin when he’s on the field.

Plus, Goodwin spent a lot of time developing his rapport with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in last year’s training camp. The extra practice time wasn’t exactly allowed to carry over into the regular season, though, as Garoppolo’s ACL tear in Week 3 cut into any would-be chemistry.

Why Marquise Goodwin Regresses

Well, for starters, Goodwin isn’t going to be on the field as much as he was in 2017 and 2018, to a point. As a result, he’ll have to make the most out of his chances, and that won’t necessarily be easy with a number of added bodies on the depth chart likely to make the regular-season roster.

When he is on the field, though, he’ll have to say healthy — something which has been relatively difficult for the receiver ever since his days with Buffalo. The 49ers changed out their training staff during the offseason, so it’s anyone’s guess how much a difference that makes.

But if the best indicator of future behavior and numbers is past performances, it wouldn’t be too shocking to assume Goodwin’s 2017 season was a proverbial “flash in the pan.”

Expected Role with the 49ers in 2019

Goodwin is signed through 2021, and the Niners would be hit with nearly $5 million in dead cap if they cut him before the regular season. So it’s safe to say he’s in little danger of being let go.

In 2017, Goodwin was on the field for 769 total offensive snaps, which was just a shade under 70 percent of the team’s offensive snaps taken that year. A year ago, that number dropped to just over 41 percent.

One might guess Goodwin’s usage would hover between 40 and 50 percent of offensive snaps this season, saving him specifically for plays calling for a stretching of the field, which the 49ers sorely lacked when Goodwin wasn’t playing.

In that role, Goodwin should excel, even if he’s not directly being targeted each and every time. Taking defenders with him down the field does help open up plays underneath, and the Niners have plenty of weapons there.

Next. Predicting 49ers' wide receiver depth chart in 2019. dark

The overall hope, though, is for Goodwin to stay healthy and active. Even in limited numbers, his presence should be able to help San Francisco’s offense in its effectiveness.