The San Francisco 49ers signed California wide receiver Bryce Treggs as an undrafted free agent earlier this month. He received an $8,000 signing bonus, and is now competing with a long list of receivers. My guess is he is likely competing for a practice squad spot, but UDFAs have surprised us in the past.
Recently, I took some time to sit down with the folks at California Golden Blogs. I answered some of their questions, which they'll be posting in the next few days or so. In the meantime, a few of their writers provided some thoughts on Treggs.
Niners Nation: What are his strengths as a receiver, and which one or two really stand out the most?
LeonPowe: I was actually surprised by his combine speed and agility numbers. Unfortunately for our wideouts, it was really difficult to be a standout because we had 9 or 10 players regularly catch passes.
What I remember Trigga for mainly was his leadership—he kept the team together and recruits signed when we changed from Coach Tedford to Dykes. Also he really stepped up at the end of this last season against ASU and Air Force when all the other wideouts were banged up—and had some clutch catches and touchdowns
In terms of skills, I would say he was best at maneuvering in tight spaces and catching low balls. He played a lot of inside receiver for us, so we never really got to see him show off any burner speed.
boomtho: He's a solid, precise route runner—which you need to be successful as an inside guy—and he's got pretty good hands. Like LeonPowe mentioned, he's also a clear, clear plus in the locker room, though that's probably not a major factor for any rookie who doesn't play QB. I think his strength is probably a little underrated as well, though it certainly won't be an advantage in the NFL given his slight stature.
Keegan Dresow: Quickness. He has quick feet and the ability to create separation in tight spaces. He is not tall, but is well-built and strong.
NN: What are his weaknesses? Of those, which pose the biggest issue for him developing into an NFL receiver?
LeonPowe: Height, size, and a history of nagging injuries.
boomtho: Not to repeat what LeonPowe said, but... his biggest weaknesses are his size and durability. While there are a lot of successful smaller receivers (e.g., Hilton, John Brown just to name two), they have blazing speed and Treggs doesn't (despite what his combine numbers said—he never showed out that way collegiately in my opinion). Treggs didn't miss a lot of games, but seemed to be banged up a lot. Given that he's probably a slight minus athletically, I think it'll be really difficult for him to stick in the NFL.
Keegan Dresow: Depends on how you use him. He does not have the height or long speed of a prototypical outside receiver and he suffered from some uncharacteristic drops.
NN: The 49ers are using him as one of their punt returners in the offseason program. Did he do much of that at Cal, and how was he in that role?
LeonPowe: Unfortunately our punt return teams have been ultra-conservative since Keenan Allen and Jeremy Ross went to the NFL and we spent a lot of time fair-catching.
boomtho: Treggs hasn't returned kicks regularly for the last two years. Part of that is his importance to the passing game, but another part was his lack of breakaway speed and shiftiness. He does have sure hands (unlike another Cal KR/PR, Jeremy Ross), but I don't think that's quite enough to stick in a job as an NFL returner.
Keegan Dresow: His build and athleticism (lower center of gravity and strong, quick feet) make this a natural fit.
NN: What should we know about his work in Cal's offense that might provide some context about his skills?
LeonPowe: Inside receiver in our spread tries to match up against nickels, safeties, or linebackers, so he makes tough catches against big hitters.
boomtho: He played mostly inside receiver his last two years, though he occasionally shifted outside, which was where he played more during his first two years. Due to the prolific nature of the Bear Raid offense, he got a lot of reps and ran a lot of pretty much every route from all over the field. Jared Goff had tremendous ability to put the ball into tight windows, so he's made a lot of contested catches... though Goff also threw him open countless times. From a tempo perspective, Cal played uptempo a lot 2–3 years ago, though they slowed it down significantly this year as Goff had full freedom to make changes/audibles at the line—so he has experience in an up-tempo system.
And, I hate to say it (as a Bay Area native and current resident)... but he probably caught passes from a better QB last year than he would have the chance to this year in SF.
Keegan Dresow: He is a versatile, team-first player. Top recruit and leader. His numbers were hampered by other talented receivers in roster, but he was a jack of all trades at the college level. While he does not have the same speed, his game has similarities to Brandin Cooks. A strong possibility exists that he would have put up noteworthy numbers as a clear #1 receiver at a different school with fewer receiving threats.
NN: Obviously you all are a little biased, but what kind of pro career would you project for Treggs, independent of team and quarterback he is playing with?
LeonPowe: To be straight forward, I worry because he's not a physical freak like Kenny Lawler and he's on the smaller side without the DeSean Jackson speed to go with it, so I don't know how good a pro he'll be. I do know he'll work his ass off and study and be the best pro he can be. Hopefully he'll stick.
boomtho: I am a Cal homer, though I'm generally cynical... and sadly, I think it's going to be pretty hard for him to stick in the NFL. Besides route running and on-paper speed, I don't see much else he's a "plus" at in the NFL—and that alone probably is enough to hold him back. I have full confidence he'll be an A+ hard worker, team player, and locker room presence... but again, not sure that's enough in this business.
Keegan Dresow: It is hard to separate scheme from athlete. Chip Kelly—and spread offenses in general—make good use of athletes with diverse skill sets. Treggs's intelligence, build, and footwork give him as good a chance of any undrafted receiver to make an impact. He has natural build/athleticism for the slot and his leadership qualities and team-first nature may give him the benefit of the doubt in making a roster if it's a close call.
NN: Any off-the-field stories that would help us better understand Bryce Treggs the person?
LeonPowe: He has consistently been one of vocal and best on-field leaders for the team—see the above story about him keeping the team and recruits together between a coaching switch. The interesting thing is his dad was a Cal legend and HUGE loudmouth/trash talker—and Bryce did not follow in the second part. Vocal? Yes, but not in your face or confrontational.
He was one of my favorite guys—I hope he makes it.
boomtho: Like LeonPowe mentioned, Treggs came into Cal at a very turbulent time. Likely due to his dad playing here, he was super committed and passionate about Cal—and played a major role in recruiting players once he'd committed. Tweets like this and this may look inconsequential, but definitely made an impression on his teammates (and fans!). This USC article basically said that USC had no chance of grabbing Treggs, even after Tosh Lupoi's...ahem...defection, and referenced his recruiting.
The last thing I'll mention is how he stayed positive and grinding as Cal brought in more and more WR threats. His production peaked (in receptions and targets) as a sophomore, yet he remained a vocal leader and great teammate through his last two years, taking the move inside in stride. Cal fans are certainly grateful for that, and will be pulling for him wherever he ends up!
Keegan Dresow: As others have noted, Treggs stayed firm in his commitment as a top recruit during turmoil and helped turn the team from a doormat to a winner. Reputation as top-level leader/worker/teammate. Kelly is believed to value such traits more than other NFL coaches.