Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Kendrick Bourne obsesses over and is motivated by missed opportunities from last season

May 19, 2020 at 5:41 PM--

Kendrick Bourne has returned to the Bay Area after some offseason training in Portland, and he is ready to seize his opportunity. The San Francisco 49ers wide receiver signed a one-year tender with the team in April and knows that a productive 2020 campaign could mean so much more.

"I'm just trying to take it to the top," Bourne said Tuesday during a KNBR interview on the Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks show. "I'm trying to be one of the top-paid guys, top-tier guys. That's what my goal has been since I was a kid. It's so crazy that it's here now. You've just got to take advantage of the opportunity, not let it slip by."

While 2019 may not have been Bourne's best statistical season, the fourth-year receiver showed that he could be a clutch target for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Twenty-three of his 30 receptions last season resulted in either a first down or a score. That continued into the postseason when Bourne hauled in six passes, five of which went for either a first down or a touchdown.

It's not those catches or scores that motivate Bourne, though. It's the missed opportunities. In fact, he obsesses over them. Bourne had three regular-season drops last year, according to Pro Football Focus, and he has repeatedly studied them in an effort to improve.

"You said three drops, but it felt like 10, the way they were," Bourne said.

Two of the drops came during a Week 10 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks in front of a Levi's Stadium crowd. The 49ers would avenge the defeat during Week 17, but they're those types of miscues that Bourne is focused on improving.

"That Seattle game, for sure," Bourne said. "That one stuck to me hard. I really had to turn it up after that one. Just disappointed. Easy catches that I know I can make. It's just so funny how it works."

Bourne says the first drop occurred because he "attacked the ball too hard" after winning against the defender on the route.

"Jimmy threw it harder than I thought, when it released off his arm," Bourne explained. "When I attacked it, it just went right through my hands. I just watch it over and over and over and over and over to try to see why.

"The second one I had, I watched it over and over again. Just my eyes, I could tell I kind of peeked at (Seahawks linebacker) Bobby Wagner. Just a millisecond of a peek, and that was the difference."

Bourne says that head coach Kyle Shanahan made him feel better by explaining that those types of miscues happen, not criticizing the receiver's play, and making sure he knew there would be other opportunities.

There's more competition in the (virtual) wide receiver room this offseason, and that has Bourne treating himself as an underdog, as he has every season since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2017.

"You can just tell it's going to be a big year, competition-wise," Bourne added.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Bourne below.

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