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Dante Pettis: T.J. Houshmandzadeh 2.0

Right off the bat, Dante Pettis reminds me a lot of Houshmandzadeh. The 49ers 2nd round pick shares a lot of traits with OchoCinco’s sidekick. For a 6 year stretch between 2004 and 2009, Houshmandzadeh was quite consistent; averaging right around 1,000 yards each season, as well as 80 plus receptions. I don’t envision huge years for Pettis but expect him to be able to consistently produce WR2 numbers. Not the highest ceiling, but a relatively high floor.I’m firmly in the camp of loving Jimmy G. Sure, last year was a small sample size, but he certainly looked to have elite traits. Therefore, I’m curious to see what happens to the value of his pass catchers. Goodwin and Pierre Garcon don’t fill me with confidence long-term, which leaves the door wide open for the likes of Pettis and Richie James to snare the opportunity.

The draft capital invested in Pettis likely gives him the first shot to crack the rotation. It sounds like Shanahan has already begun exploring ways to incorporate him in the offense. According to the 49ers WR coach, they have been putting more work on Pettis’ plate than they usually would for a rookie. He’s currently learning all 3 WR roles in Shanahan’s offense in order to challenge him and make him a versatile option for the offense.

During his time in Washington, Pettis showed his value in a variety of ways. The 6’1” 186-pound wideout had his best year as a Junior when he produced 822 yards and 15 TDs. Again, not a high ceiling but certainly valuable. Additionally, he provided an NCAA record 9 TDs on punt returns. A full breakdown of Pettis’ college production can be seen below:

Pettis proceeded to display promising athleticism at UW’s pro-day. He ran a 4.47 40-yard dash with 10’5” broad jump and a 6.87 three-cone. However, he’s a bit of a Jack of all trades, master of none. He has decent athleticism, with solid hands and a full route tree. But, he has shown inconsistency and a tendency to get physically overwhelmed by corners. Having said that, one NFC West-Coast scout mentioned, “He’s really good with his routes. He was better last year when he had John Ross on the other side getting so much attention. He’s not incredibly fast which is why his punt return production is so impressive. He has a great feel for it.”

I had initially expected Pettis to be a 3rd or 4th round prospect, so his 2nd round selection caught my attention after Shanahan and Lynch traded up to select him. So, maybe there’s something here that I’m missing. With Shanahan leading so many WRs and RBs to career years, it’s rational to be intrigued. Pettis could follow in the footsteps of Andre Johnson, Santana Moss, Jabar Gafney, Pierre Garcon, and Julio Jones, which alone explains his current draft position in the 2nd round. Aside from my Houshmandzadeh comparison, I’ve heard Pettis be compared to Jeremy Maclin, Reggie Wayne, and even Marqise Lee…quite a variety. Nevertheless, you won’t find many more 2nd round prospects with a nice cocktail of fantasy productive coaching, opportunity, draft pedigree and versatile skillsets.

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