The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up mandatory minicamp on Thursday, and rookie Dante Pettis has been getting the bulk of the praise among the wide receivers. However, second-year receiver Kendrick Bourne has had a solid camp, according to multiple reports.
Jennifer reported that on Wednesday, Bourne got some work in a featured role in the team’s passing game. Cam Inman wrote about winners from camp, and he was impressed with Bourne, but not ready to go overboard with the praise.
Prior to minicamp, Matt Barrows said he was not prepared to bump Bourne over Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin, but he was, “buying a minority stake in the hype.” He sees Bourne as the most physically gifted receiver on the team, who might not be the best at a given trait, but has the total package the other receivers do not. The big question Barrows found was, “whether he has the drive and ambition to put it all together to be a consistently reliable target for Jimmy Garoppolo.”
Following minicamp, ESPN put together a list of surprise offseason standouts for all 32 teams. Nick Wagoner cited Bourne for the 49ers. He said Bourne was one of the most consistent pass-catchers for Jimmy Garoppolo, and he looked faster than he has in the past.
At the end of OTAs, Garoppolo was asked about Bourne’s growth from last year to this year.
“Yeah, growth is a great word for it. Last year, when I met KB he was a rookie, just coming along, but this offseason has made some great strides. I think our whole receiver corps as a group has really come a long way. They’re moving in the right direction, working hard, putting in the extra time and I think that’s going to make a difference.”
People have noticed the connection between the two this offseason, and Garoppolo was asked what makes Bourne someone he is comfortable targeting.
“He brings a lot of different traits to the table that it’s hard for a defender to cover him. He’s, I don’t even know how to describe it, deceptively fast but at the same time, he has some wiggle to him. It’s a nice combination and he does a great job of catching the ball. I don’t know how many drops he’s had all of OTAs, I don’t want to jinx him, but he’s done a great job for me.”
Bourne still faces a challenge at training camp. Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, and Trent Taylor all seem like roster locks, or at least pretty close. That leaves one or two spots at most on the wide receiver depth chart. Aldrick Robinson reportedly had a strong camp, and Richie James is an intriguing option down the depth chart. Victor Bolden made the roster last year, but will open the season with a four-game suspension.
It seems a good bet Bourne makes the 53-man roster, but are you prepared to move him to lock status yet?