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Report: 49ers hold pre-draft visit with all-world punt returner

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The 49ers have a solid punt returner in Trent Taylor, but Dante Pettis had a heck of a college career.

The San Francisco 49ers are bringing in University of Washington wide receiver Dante Pettis for an official pre-draft visit, according to Matt Maiocco. He is the tenth confirmed pre-draft visit for the 49ers.

While Pettis is listed as a receiver, he also worked as a punt returner. And boy is he a good one. This past season he averaged 20.4 yards per punt return, and returned four for touchdowns. His nine career touchdowns on punt returns is an FBS record.

Pettis stands 6’0, 186 pounds. Lance Zierlein says he might be more likely to land in the slot due to struggles with more physical press cornerbacks, but it seems like he has some versatility in where he can line up. An anonymous scout described him as better when he had John Ross taking attention away, but that he is “[r]eally good with his routes.” The scout was even more impressed with his punt return numbers because he does not see Pettis as incredible fast.

Pettis did not run a 40 at the Combine or Washington’s Pro Day due to an ankle injury. Washington’s Pro Day was March 10, so I am curious what kind of work the 49ers might do with him on this visit a month later.

The 49ers currently have Trent Taylor handling punt returns, and he did solid work as a rookie. He averaged 9.4 yards per punt return, which was good for ninth in the league. Victor Bolden had some punt return opportunities as well, and will likely compete for the role this offseason.