No. 1: 49ers Wide Receiver Dante Pettis
Let’s go out on a limb here and suggest the No. 1 candidate for 49ers training camp MVP is third-year wide receiver Dante Pettis.
Pettis’ fall from grace last year needs little introduction. From a promising WR1 candidate at the tail end of his rookie season in 2018 to being fully inactive for Super Bowl LIV a few months ago, Pettis is at a crossroads.
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So much so, Kyle Shanahan called him out this offseason, via The Athletic’s Matt Barrows:
"I want to see that while he’s away, he’s been on a mission. That is what some guys go through. Dante did that his rookie year trying to make the league and stuff. He took a documented step back in the second year, which I’ve been around a lot of players who have done that. The players I’ve been around, which has been a ton, they go one way or the other: they keep being like that and usually filter out, or it’s a wake-up call for them."
Pettis understands he’s walking a fine line between making the roster and being pushed off a still-crowded wide receiver room. He also understands getting out of Shanahan’s proverbial doghouse isn’t easy to do.
A season ago, Pettis endured a terrible training camp with noticeable lapses and focus drops, according to numerous sources on hand for the events.
To bounce back, Pettis must revert back to what got him into the WR1 discussion in the first place: excellent route running, contested catches and a determination factor not seen over the majority of 2019.
If it happens, Pettis’ own bounce-back story will be worthy of camp MVP consideration.