Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Middlekauff: Dante Pettis will be a ‘non-factor’ for the 49ers moving forward

Nov 20, 2019 at 9:39 AM--

Dante Pettis played just two snaps during Sunday's win over the Arizona Cardinals, none of which were meaningful. The second-year receiver, once thought to be the San Francisco 49ers' potential breakout player of 2019, has no receptions during the last two games and just 11 for 109 yards this season.

Pettis has vanished from the offense, and it feels like he is being phased out.

"He's had a number of opportunities," head coach Kyle Shanahan said of Pettis last week. "I'm one of the guys that believe in him the most. That's why he's here. He's had his opportunities. The more he doesn't take advantage of his opportunities, the less opportunities he gets."

Was making Pettis a second-round pick last year a gaffe by 49ers decision-makers? The young wideout is on pace for 174 receiving yards after recording 467 during his rookie campaign.

John Middlekauff of The Athletic, a former NFL scout, joined KNBR on Tuesday and said he believes drafting Pettis may have been a mistake, given the receiver's stumble down the 49ers' depth chart this season.

"He's not physical," Middlekauff said on the "Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks" show while trying to figure out what Pettis does well. "He's not really a speed demon. In college, he broke DeSean's (Jackson) record for punt returns. He doesn't even do that for this team."

Middlekauff believes Shanahan would like to part ways with Pettis, but can't just yet because of the draft investment. Doing so would be an admission of significant failure. And while the second year of a player's career might not be the time to give up on him, Middlekauff feels like the Pettis experiment is already over.

"Last year, it was, 'Whatever; he's a rookie.'" Middlekauff continues. "But then the second year, all these guys pass him. Kendrick Bourne, much better player. Deebo (Samuel), it was clear like in training camp. Emmanuel Sanders comes in; he's got [a rib injury], he runs circles around him. It's just like it's not going to work out here, and they're not going to be able to trade him for much.

"I'm just at the point where he's not going to play much moving forward unless they just have catastrophic injuries, which you never know with this team. But it's just (that) he's going to be a non-factor for this team moving forward, and I expect him not to be on this team."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Middlekauff below.

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