WR Dante Pettis, San Francisco 49ers
Dante Pettis leaves Washington as a record-breaking punt returner who broke the great Devin Hester’s record with nine total return touchdowns in his four-year collegiate career. As a receiver, Pettis did nothing spectacular except for catch a whopping 15 touchdowns in his 2016 season. Other than that, he averaged just 564 yards and six touchdowns on 40 receptions. After not participating at the combine, Pettis was widely considered a big question mark due to the hidden metrics and average college production.
The Scout’s Notes
Pettis uses quick releases to get off the line of scrimmage quickly and fights with his hands very well to get off of press coverage. His route running is viable and creates separation but is a bit sloppy and needs to be fine-tuned before succeeding in the NFL. Pettis is best used on anything deep down the field, whether it be via double moves or post routes where he attacks the cornerback’s weak leverage. He is not a burner but he plays at a fast speed, one which would have likely tested in the mid-4.50s. Pettis has good hands but will occasionally drop easy passes due to lack of concentration. He high-points the ball well in the end zone and displays a wide catch radius. Ironically, Pettis is not very agile and explosive after the catch, even though he is a world-class return man. His blocking instincts are subpar and lacks a feel for holding down blocks in the run game. Pettis needs work on being able to sit down in zone coverages and making himself become an easy target, thus being the reason he is likely a deep threat-only in the NFL.
Pettis landed in arguably the best spot for wide receivers this offseason as he was snatched up by the 49ers in the early second round. At this point, he is being taken in the mid-late second round, which is much too high. Pettis will not be a number one receiver, but he will be a good deep threat and viable returner. With a similar play style to Tyler Lockett, Pettis will never be more than a WR3 for fantasy and NFL purposes. That being said, leave Pettis in the third round of rookie drafts and let someone else snatch him.
The first play, beginning at 1:20, Pettis runs a corner route from the slot. As he heads into his break, he strides almost a second too soon, making the route sloppy, slowing him down, and allowing the cornerback to close quickly. Although Pettis makes the catch, if this keeps up in the NFL, opposing defenses will figure out how to beat him, and he will not be successful. There is potential here, but Pettis needs to sharpen his game as a receiver if he will ever be more than a WR3.
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