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Preseason spotlight: rookie wideout Richie James

The seventh round pick from Middle Tennessee State got everyone’s attention

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers rookie wide receiver Richie James Jr. took the NFL by storm in his preseason debut and people have taken notice, especially his teammates and coaches. He caught four of his five targets for 46 yards and one touchdown. He also played quite a few snaps, 36 to be exact, which was 45 percent of all offensive plays.

Maybe his one handed warm up catch should have predicted for all of us what was in store for the wideout:

Here is James’ post game interview:

Can you talk about the game-winning catch?

“We just put it in the zone. We had been driving down the field all day and wasn’t able to put it in. We had three turnovers and it is hard to win a game with three turnovers, but we did it.”

What did you think when you got in the end zone?

“Yes, it was on my mind. I just really have to give credit to [San Francisco 49ers QB] Nick [Mullens]. That was a good ball. It was in the right window. He did a really good job.”

So what is next, some recovery, film?

“We are right back at it next week. We have to get going.”

Here’s what a few others had to say about James after his NFL debut:

Kyle Shanahan

What we love about Richie is that I think you guys can all see is he’s fearless with the ball in his hands, also. He’s making good cuts and getting himself after the catch. I think he did pretty good with his kick return, also.

Jimmy Garoppolo

“His athletic ability for such a young guy, it’s impressive. You know, once you put the mental part of it with the physical part it’ll be something good.”

C.J. Beathard

He’s doing a great job. He’s had a great few weeks of camp. He’s made some great catches, and it showed out there today on the field. He’s a real good player and has a lot of upside to him. He’s a good target.”

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Richie James Jr. continued to make an impression, scoring the winning touchdown in the 49ers 24-21 victory over the Cowboys. 49ers quarterbacks had a 150.4 passer rating on the night when targeting James.

The competition for a spot at wide receiver is extremely close with all of the players performing well at training camp and in the first game. Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin are your one and two but after that, it’s murky. Aaron Burbridge has made a case for himself as has Victor Bolden Jr. and both of them contribute on special teams. Kendrick Bourne has been making splashy plays. Trent Taylor is getting worked back into team drills, and there’s still Dante Pettis who the team traded up to draft.

Bolden will sit out for the first four games due to a suspension so the team doesn’t have to make a decision on him right away, but there’s still Aldrick Robinson who flashed at camp prior to the Dallas game and the two tallest of the group, Max McCaffrey (6’2) and Steven Dunbar (6’3).

If James keeps performing like he did in the first game, the team will have no choice but to give him a spot on the 53, which will make the decisions of who to keep at wide receiver very difficult.