49ers wide receiver Trent Taylor had high expectations entering the 2018 season, however a back injury derailed his second year in the NFL. Here we take a look at why he will have a great training camp in 2019 and solidify his spot within a competitive receiving corps.
As the San Francisco 49ers 2018 season was getting underway, many experts placed a postseason berth on the shoulders of the team and coaches. The reasoning was they ended the 2017 season on such a tear, it only made sense that they would continue their fine play into the next year.
One of the players who projected as an integral piece of the team’s resurgence was wide receiver Trent Taylor.
The outlook for Taylor’s second season increased rapidly once franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo took over for the final five games of 2017.
It was not to be. A back injury, which never quite healed after offseason surgery in 2018, was just one reason Taylor failed to improve upon his rookie campaign. Garoppolo being lost for the 2018 season in Week 3 to a torn ACL only made matters worse.
The receiver is, by his account 100 percent healthy. After team drills last month, it seems Taylor is back to his 2017 self as the squad gets ready to open training camp on July 26.
“I feel like my back is back to normal now,” Taylor said, via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan, “I just knew that I needed a little more time than I was able to get throughout the season. That’s why I’ve been really looking forward to this offseason. Getting back to building my body up the right way. I’m feeling great right now. We’re going to continue working on that and building myself up so I can be ready to have a great season next year.”
Taylor also has a new position coach in former perennial Pro Bowl receiver, Wes Welker. Who better to groom the 5-foot-8, 180-pound receiver than a man with the same measurements and skill set?
Welker was one of the best slot receivers in the history of the NFL. He had an innate ability to gain separation off the line and was a precise route runner, things that he is undoubtedly refining in his new student.
“It’s been extremely helpful, honestly, the type of perspective that he brings,” Taylor said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “You can hear the way he thought through his routes, and that’s something that no one else can emulate. No matter how hard they tried or how hard they studied an offense: You wouldn’t be able to get those types of tips to find that edge that he played with. It’s pretty special stuff.”
Another reason I believe Taylor will have a great camp this summer is he is another year older. With that comes another year immersed inside head coach Kyle Shanahan’s system. This is a system which has proven to take players at least one year to digest. Another offseason learning from Shanahan will only serve to help Taylor.
“It’s a lot of studying for sure,” Taylor said in 2017. “A lot different than college. Way more detail oriented for sure, which I’m sure it’s like that a bunch of places in the NFL. But, it’s a great offense and once you get used to it, once you get the flow of it. I know I’m going to fit in well. I’m loving it right now.”
The 49ers have a crowded receiver room after drafting pass catchers in the second and third rounds of this years NFL Draft. The team also added veteran Jordan Matthews as a potential red-zone target. As such, Taylor will have his work cutout for him. This leads me into my last reason why Taylor will have a great camp.
A healthy Garoppolo.
In the games Garoppolo started during the 2017 season, Taylor was a favorite target for the then-newly anointed 49ers starter. He caught 17 of his 43 total passes for 191 yards in those last five contests.
The duo displayed a chemistry almost immediately after Garoppolo became the starter. This was no more evident than the first game the two played together against the Chicago Bears in Week 13.
That contest saw a breakout six-catch, 92-yard performance from Taylor. The most notable aspect of that game was his ability to get open on third down, something he and Garoppolo exploited.
Training camp is a mere 11 days away.
Being fully healthy for the first time since his rookie season.
Learning from a wide receivers coach who understands his style and how to use it on the field.
Having another season inside the teams complex system under his belt.
These reasons combined with playing alongside the quarterback who he saw his greatest success to date with, are all why I believe Trent Taylor will show out with a stellar training camp in 2019.