How first-round choose Ricky Pearsall matches into 49ers’ loaded WR room

by Christina S. Brown
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Jon Becktold coached new San Francisco 49ers receiver Ricky Pearsall at Corona Del Sol Excessive within the Phoenix space, getting an up-close view of the first-round choose’s psychological toughness, character and athleticism. 

Becktold arrived firstly of Pearsall’s junior season and the crew completed 1-9 and 2-8 the subsequent two years. However the explosive receiver by no means transferred to a extra profitable program.

“He may have left after his junior yr,” Becktold stated. “We sucked. He knew that and he stayed there. He was loyal throughout.” 

Pearsall did profit, as Becktold modified from a run-first, I-formation scheme to an expansion offense to benefit from the very best athlete within the faculty. Pearsall posted a state-record 342-yard receiving efficiency his junior season, together with 14 grabs and 5 touchdowns in a loss in opposition to Gilbert Excessive.

Becktold compares Pearsall’s dynamic talent set — which he demonstrated on the NFL Scouting Mix with a 4.41-second 40-yard time and 42-inch vertical soar — to the athleticism and toughness of Julian Edelman, who performed 11 years for the Patriots. 

“He is a freak athlete,” Becktold stated. “He is very bodily. Not too many individuals tried to press him as a result of he is very robust and really quick. He is not backing away from something. He understands it is sort out soccer, and it isn’t 7-on-7 and flag.” 

Pearsall’s physicality, explosiveness and toughness are among the causes San Francisco chosen him at No. 31 general. Amid hypothesis that the 49ers would possibly commerce Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel through the draft, basic supervisor John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan grabbed the do-everything Pearsall on the finish of the primary spherical.

Afterward, the Niners tried to squash rampant rumors that Aiyuk and Samuel are nonetheless obtainable.

“I am doing every part in my energy to maintain this roster collectively,” Lynch stated on “The Pat McAfee Present” this week. “In the course of the course of drafts and offseasons, do conversations occur? Completely they do. We’re previous that now.”  

Lynch acknowledged the group’s coverage to by no means shut a door on a commerce and that he would all the time hear. Nonetheless, Lynch stated the crew wasn’t shut on any trades through the first day of the draft. 

Will the 49ers commerce a WR?

Will the 49ers trade a WR?

[READ MORE: 49ers GM John Lynch: ‘We’re past’ Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel trade talks]

Samuel is getting into the second yr of a three-year contract value $71.5 million. Aiyuk desires a brand new deal that may pay him among the many prime receivers within the league, upward of $25 million yearly. He’s scheduled to make $14.1 million in 2024 beneath the fifth-year possibility of his rookie contract. 

With Aiyuk and Samuel anticipated to remain at the very least for the 2024 season, together with third receiver Jauan Jennings, tight finish George Kittle and operating again Christian McCaffrey, the place will the targets come for Pearsall?

“It is simply including to the arsenal actually of all of the weapons that they’ve, and have an explosive offense develop into that rather more explosive,” Pearsall stated. “I do not actually know precisely the place they’ll have me enjoying, or how they’re going to make the most of me. However I do know they’ll put me in the proper place to excel and make the proper performs. So I am actually excited and look ahead to doing that for this program.”

Pearsall turns into insurance coverage for the oft-injured Samuel and offers the 49ers somebody in-house already acquainted with their system once they should make choices on the make-up of the receiver room after the 2024 season.

Since Samuel joined the 49ers in 2019, the crew is 53-23 (together with postseason) in video games he has performed and 8-9 in video games he hasn’t performed. The 49ers misplaced each video games he missed through the common season in 2023. 

“We imagine we have now a really robust group there, and we wished so as to add one other participant,” Lynch stated. “Ricky additionally has some punt return worth that we expect will come in useful. We simply felt prefer it was the proper man on the proper time and are actually enthusiastic about it.” 

Pearsall is a elegant route-runner with positive fingers who can play all three broad receiver positions and return punts. In three seasons at Arizona State and two at Florida, he noticed 62% of his manufacturing come from the slot. Pearsall earned the nickname “Slick Rick” in faculty due to his capability to shake free from defenders. 

At Arizona State, he performed one season with Aiyuk, who reportedly texted Lynch and Shanahan after Pearsall’s choice: “Hearth choose. Cannot lie.” 

“He simply performs the place very well,” Shanahan stated. “Whether or not it was outdoors, inside — all three [receiver] positions. He can separate down the sector. He can separate beneath. He is bought actually good fingers. Extraordinarily good. Thoroughly-developed. I assume I might name it a fitness center rat, as a result of you possibly can simply see that he is labored on his routes.”

Shanahan stated there’s nothing Pearsall cannot do, and he’ll match into no matter function the crew wants based mostly on the opposite guys within the room.

“There’s not one play that he turns down,” Shanahan stated. “He will go over the center and do every part to catch that ball and never fear about the rest. When he is on the sidelines, he is not taking the simple manner out. He makes guys sort out him. He is not searching for a spot to fall. And when he would not have the ball, he performs simply as arduous when the ball’s not in his fingers.”

FOX Sports activities NFL analyst Bucky Brooks says Pearsall offers San Francisco one other receiver who can win in opposition to man protection, one thing the 49ers struggled in opposition to of their additional time Tremendous Bowl loss to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. 

“I believe that is Kyle Shanahan’s reply to the way in which groups had been enjoying them,” Brooks stated on the “Transfer the Sticks” podcast. “I felt just like the San Francisco 49ers had playmakers, not route-runners. And in video games the place groups had been in a position to play man-to-man, they’d issues getting away. Within the Tremendous Bowl, they could not get away from the corners, once you could not use the specter of play-action and people issues.

“And though Brandon Aiyuk is a significantly better route-runner in my thoughts than Deebo Samuel, they nonetheless wanted somebody that may get open and win these one-on-ones. Ricky Pearsall is a dynamic route-runner. He’s terrific at working and creating separation from defenders on the prime of routes. He is a improbable ball-catcher. He is a playmaker when he will get it on the transfer. So he does all of the issues that the 49ers require their receivers to do, however I believe he is an higher echelon route-runner.”

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for greater than a decade, masking the Los Angeles Rams for Sports activities Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma Information Tribune. Observe him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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