49ers depth chart: 4 players who benefit from no preseason
By Peter Panacy
No. 1: 49ers Wide Receiver Dante Pettis
Just like Ahkello Witherspoon, third-year wide receiver Dante Pettis could find himself on the roster bubble after a forgettable 2019 campaign that saw him inactive for Super Bowl LIV.
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The Niners’ former second-round draft pick’s struggles last season started in training camp, then carried over into the preseason and the regular season. Yet the context of San Francisco’s situation at the position does Pettis some good already. Fellow wideouts Deebo Samuel (foot) and Richie James (wrist) are both possibly going to miss the start of the year. And while the 49ers have two promising rookies in their arsenal, Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings, neither player should be considered major contributors before playing an NFL snap.
Not having a preseason will cut into Aiyuk and Jennings’ development phases, and that bodes well for Pettis among a wide receiver crop lacking other proven options.
Instead, Pettis will be able to go up against defensive backs he’s familiar with, understanding their tendencies and weaknesses in practice. Gone are the chances he’ll match up against opponents’ cornerbacks who might be playing hot in the preseason, thereby shutting Pettis down and causing him to fall even further in Kyle Shanahan’s graces.
Simply put, it’s a better context for Pettis without preseason games, and he’ll have more of an opportunity to bounce back in 2020 without these particular contests.