One of the many pleasures of training camp — aside from it signaling the return of football — is the chance to see newly-acquired players (rookies and veterans, alike) acclimate themselves to a new environment. Few young players have been as exciting as wide receiver Dante Pettis.
Pettis, a second round pick out of the University of Washington, finds himself in the thick of things as the Niners’ first preseason game is right around the corner. He will battle for playing time in a receiving corps which already boasts the like of Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, Kendrick Bourne, and Trent Taylor.
He met with the media yesterday to discuss how his first week of training camp as a professional football player has gone - all of which you can watch via the team YouTube page here:
I feel pretty good. It’s camp, you know. It’s a grind. Were having a lot of fun though, were getting better. Each day Im learning a lot more than I thought I could have so that’s definitely good.
On his chemistry with starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and what he’s learned from how the QB delivers the ball to his receivers:
I mean, I think it’s going pretty well. It’s definitely been picking up the last couple of days - we’ve been getting more reps together and he’s been giving me a lot of good feedback so I like where things are going...He’s really good at seeing when you’re breaking so as soon as he sees that little indicator he knows, ‘Ok, he’s about to break, I can get rid of the ball now.’ He’s good at that so you just got to get your head around quick so you can see the ball come in.
On describing his route-running style:
I don’t know. It’s...different. It’s something I was just born with - it’s the way I've always ran. My legs kind of kick out a little bit; I’m pigeon-toed so my feet turn in and so I think it’s just a little awkward for people to see and DB’s aren’t used to seeing it so hopefully it throws them off a little bit.
The most interesting thing to watch, to me at least, has been Pettis’ ability to impress early during camp. He has shown a knack to consistently create separation from defenders — I mean, seriously, all it takes is one search on Twitter before you are bombarded with camp highlights showcasing the rookie’s talent:
Dante Pettis gets the better of Tarvarus McFadden here in the rookie matchup pic.twitter.com/uTcHAmtlHR— Brad Almquist (@bradalmquist13) July 29, 2018
Once the WR stack’s the DB, it’s all over— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) August 1, 2018
Especially when they possess a rocker step as lethal as Dante Pettis pic.twitter.com/HP1iw99hof
Two Dante Pettis 1 on 1’s from 49ers training camp practice:— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) July 29, 2018
Play 1: Brings head and shoulders on release, hesitation then vertical burst to generate separation
Play 2: “Squirt” release Slant with low hips, hand swipe and swim, full extension hands catch pic.twitter.com/AaE9z3Poph
You see evidence of what Pettis was talking about — how sometimes there’s a lot of action going on from the waist-down. What’s impressive, though, besides the separation he is able to continuously get, is the crispness of the routes he's ran up to this point. Suffice to say if he can keep it up then he will not only make a name for himself on this team, but in the league as a whole.