With a few injuries at wide receiver, Trent Taylor was going to have to step up for the offense. Taylor, who missed all of 2019 with a foot injury, looks more and more like the player who was unguardable during last year’s training camp. San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was asked if Taylor was at that same level where he was last year:
“Yes, I think he’s getting very close to that. It’s just a matter of time. The more we practice and the more football shape he’ll get into, the closer he’ll be to that. He’s looked pretty good to where it’s also a fine line on how much we want to practice him to get to that. It’s kind of what I’m debating with all our players. But, we know the player Trent is, and my goal is to get him healthy for the season, but I also want to give him a chance to fine-tune himself and be his best self, which only comes with reps. So, we’re balancing that right now. Right now, Trent’s in a good spot to where he definitely could really help us Week 1. I know him, like everyone else, can get in more football shape, and that’s really what this debate is going to be here over these next two weeks.”
Taylor isn’t going to impress you with physical traits. What Taylor will do is get open, and that’s all that matters. Even when he’s not, Jimmy Garoppolo has given Taylor opportunities in practice to make plays, and Taylor has made the contested catch. On third down, Garoppolo looks for Taylor because he can trust Taylor. If healthy, Taylor has a shot to rack up a bunch of receptions for the 49ers this season.
Kendrick Bourne was asked what kind of camp Taylor is having, and what was the offense missing without Taylor in 2019:
He’s a third-down guru, man. He just knows how to get open. You don’t really see him too much on the outside, but whenever he comes in, he’s always open every time you see his name called.
Just his presence. He’s a guy that we can rely on. That’s how I truly feel about Trent. Me and him both played F [the name of the 49ers slot position], and I’ve learned from him first. I watched him heavily, we’re the same class, and he was just on top of everything. You could just feel it when he’s out there. He’s been making plays all camp. Very proud of that dude with everything that he’s gone through. He’s just unfazed by it, and I think he’s going to have an amazing year. I know it’s coming.
When you’re missing a veteran presence, you’re going to have ups and downs at any position. Taylor is reliable, from catching the ball to running the correct routes. He’s not going to make many highlight reels, but Taylor is the type of receiver every quarterback loves. Expect him to lead the receivers in receptions if Deebo Samuel misses extended time.