Here at Niners Nation, we're presenting a series called "90-in-90". We'll be looking at every player on the 49ers offseason roster, one player per post, from now until the start of training camp.
The loss of Michael Crabtree due to injury is a big blow to the 49ers, but with the loss comes an opportunity for another receiver to step up. Could a former Seahawks wideout fill the void? Ricardo Lockette is hoping to.
Lockette, a Fort Valley State product, hasn't had a lot of action in the pros since being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Seahawks in 2011 (2 catches, 105 yards, 1 touchdown). Experience is important, but it isn't everything. Sometimes all a player needs is a chance to show what they are capable of, and Lockette has been getting a good long look this off-season. For a player who hasn't played a down for the 49ers, he's getting talked about a lot.
Jim Harbaugh acknowledged he's excited about Lockette's future:
"I'm sure there's things I can specifically name, but there's just something about him that I'm really fired up about," Harbaugh said. "He's got something else to him, too, besides just the analytical size, strength, speed. There's something special there. I just feel it."
Lockette does possess good size at 6'2" 211 lbs, and has exceptional speed, running a 4.37 forty at the 2011 NFL Combine, the best time of any receiver. The measurables are something to get excited about alone, but then you throw in Harbaugh's comments and it gets you more pumped about Lockette's ceiling.
Harbaugh isn't the only one in Lockette's corner, Colin Kaepernick and Lockette have become good friends. Lockette was in Atlanta a week after the Super Bowl to start training with Kap, and they've gained chemistry on and off the practice fields every step of the way. Even when they are just hanging out at the house they share in Santa Clara, scheme and playbook are talked about.
"Say if I'm in the shower and he's walking down the hall, he'll yell, 'Hey Lock, what do you have on so-and-so?' And I'll say, 'I've got a go (route),' " Lockette said earlier this week. "It's 24/7 learning, and just making it fun for each other."
24/7 learning with the starting quarterback is a very positive thing, it makes the learning part of the game fun, when you are studying outside of the classroom and gaining more knowledge. Lockette was even seen with Kaepernick at the ESPY'S in the front row, let's hope all the time spent together this offseason leads to big plays on the gridiron.
What to expect in 2013
It is hard telling what to expect in 2013, all there is to do is expect what coaches and players expect of Lockette, and that's a key contributor this season. Training camp is fast approaching, and preseason games soon after that, it's not too long from now that we will get to see where Lockette stands on the depth chart. Lockette, Quinton Patton, A.J. Jenkins, Chad Hall, and Marlon Moore all are looking to separate themselves from the pack, how this competition shakes out will be interesting.
It all boils down to whether you think the reason why Lockette is 27 years old and only has two catches in his career is because he's not that good or if he hasn't had a long enough look yet. I believe in the latter with Lockette in a good situation heading into camp. He has the quarterback rooting for him and pushing him to improve, which bodes well for Lockette and Kap being on the same page.
It's safe to say Lockette is still raw and has things to learn, but it sounds as if he's received a lot of outside of school tutoring this offseason, so he may be up to speed. Where he winds up on the depth chart is hard to tell, but don't be surprised if Lockette makes some nice plays on a consistent basis. I don't think Coach Harbaugh would say he thought Ricardo has something special if he didn't mean it.
Odd of making roster
The odds are high he makes the roster. Harbaugh and Kap are in his corner, all he has to do now is prove them right.