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49ers 90-in-90: WR Richie James

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Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). Today is wide receiver Richie James.

NFL: San Franciso 49ers-OTA Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Richie James was drafted in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL draft from Middle Tennessee State. Despite only playing two full college seasons, James left Middle Tennessee as their all-time leader in receiving yards (3,261) and receiving touchdowns (23) and showed enough to tempt the 49ers’ brass into bringing his electric playmaking ability to the Bay.

Basic info

Age: 22
Experience: Rookie
Height: 5’9
Weight: 185 pounds

Cap Status

James is in the first year of his four year rookie contract. He has a cap hit of $499,143 and a dead cap of $76,572 if he fails to make the roster.

What to expect in 2018

Playmaking. James was a monster playmaker in college, as a receiver and a runner. There is no doubt James can be a major threat, especially when matched up with linebackers and safeties. Kyle Shanahan is the perfect man to engineer those mismatches. Furthermore, despite being undersized, he showed the ability to compete for the ball and win at the catch point against larger players. That skill will be crucial in the NFL and to his viability as a multi-faceted NFL threat.

Odds of making the roster

Whilst the top end talent in the 49ers’ receivers room means that the term “stacked” is rarely tossed around, the seeming similarities in talent-level of many of the players means stacked might be an appropriate term to use. James finds himself in the midst of this log jam, and may struggle to make the 53 man roster given Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis are all better inside receivers than outside, much like James. James could sneak onto the roster as the sixth receiver, but he will likely be in competition with special teams ace Aaron Burbridge for that spot. Right now, James looks like a likely practice squad candidate.