No. 1: Can Dante Pettis bounce back out of Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse?
One of the prime reasons why the 49ers had to draft Brandon Aiyuk was the dramatic demise of second-year wide receiver Dante Pettis in 2019.
Late in 2018, Pettis was showing all the reasons why the Niners moved up in Round 2 of that year’s draft to grab the former Washington standout, and it wasn’t out of the question to assume the Niners would propel Pettis into a featured role heading into 2019.
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Except Pettis endured a terrible training camp, was publicly called out by Kyle Shanahan and ended up being an afterthought during the regular season, even being inactive during Super Bowl LIV.
Talk about a massive fall from grace.
Shanahan challenged Pettis again during the offseason. But merely looking at the numbers, it’s not hard to see why the third-year receiver is in jeopardy of missing out on the regular-season roster. Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and Kendrick Bourne are essentially locks for the 53-man roster. Trent Taylor is probable, as is Jauan Jennings.
As things stand now, Pettis is competing with fellow depth wideouts Travis Benjamin, Jalen Hurd and Richie James, among others, for one of no more than six spots at the position on the roster.
Pettis could easily be a victim of the numbers game, which would be a notable fail for San Francisco’s notable 2018 draft investment. As such, he’ll command no shortage of attention between now and Week 1.