Film Breakdown: Get Excited About Dante Pettis

What to expect from Dante Pettis in 2019.

Coming off a stellar 2017 senior year at the University of Washington, Dante Pettis was selected 44th overall in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft by the 49ers.

While in college, Pettis broke the NCAA record for punt return touchdowns and added 63 receptions, 761 yards, and seven touchdown catches. Injuries derailed his rookie campaign but, in limited playing time, Pettis impressed.

Pettis and the 49ers began the season with a stiff test in the Minnesota Vikings. Pettis finished the game with two catches for 61 yards and a touchdown.

Here’s his first NFL catch

Pay attention to Pettis, who gets lined up inside to the right of the formation. Minnesota falls into zone coverage, leaving linebacker Eric Kendricks and safety Harrison Smith to chase Pettis. The pocket collapses and Jimmy Garoppolo escapes and drops a dime into Pettis, who saw his quarterback in trouble and darted towards the back of the end zone to give Garoppolo a place to throw the ball. Great catch, great throw. Pettis shows his elusiveness here.

Here’s his second NFL catch

Pettis goes in motion and lines up inside against Mike Hughes. He gets himself open about seven yards downfield with a beautiful inside fake. The move creates about three to four yards of separation and the ball is on time; Pettis hauls it in and heads up the field for a big gain.

There was much to like about his debut against the Vikings, but an injury in Week 2 against Detroit would cost Pettis five games.

Fast forward to Week 13 against Seattle

Pettis exploded for 5 catches, 129 yards and two receiving touchdowns in Seattle. Here’s his 75-yard touchdown catch:

Pettis shows his breakaway speed as he was able to accelerate past Seattle’s secondary and get into the end zone.

In Week 14…

The 49ers took on the Denver Broncos. Pettis posted a modest line of three catches, 45 yards, and a receiving touchdown. A one-yard touchdown catch doesn’t sound like something to be excited about… until you see how it developed:

Pettis is at the bottom of the screen matched up with Isaac Yiadom. With a slight hesitation at the line of scrimmage, Pettis is able to create separation without contact and brings in the easy touchdown. Might not look like much, but Pettis has shown an ability to beat coverages with good footwork and quickness.

And, of course, Pettis’s top plays from the entire season

In conclusion, it’s hard not to be excited about Pettis for 2019 based on his 2018 performance with a third-string quarterback. Hopefully, he can avoid the injury bug and log a full season with a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo.

Pettis has room to improve with his route running but it’s hard not to be excited about him going into 2019.


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