Kendrick Bourne Could see Increased Defensive Attention in 2020
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne officially signed his tender deal with the San Francisco 49ers on April 6. His return gives the 49ers their only two contributing receivers back from 2019 since Emmanuel Sanders has departed.
Bourne stepped up magnificently in 2019, especially once Sanders was acquired. He went from an inconsistent wideout, to becoming Jimmy Garoppolo's most reliable receiver.
According to Pro Football Focus, Bourne had a first down reception in all but four games last season. 23 of his 30 receptions went for a first down or touchdown. He was the epitome of reliability and clutch last season, which made his retention key for the 49ers.
However, things could become difficult for Bourne in 2020. Surely, opposing teams are going to take notice of Bourne's tendencies on crucial downs. When the 49ers kick the regular season off, defenses will be sure to not let Bourne go unchecked since he excels in coming through in the clutch.
That is why Bourne could see increased defensive attention in 2020.
Defensive coordinators around the league will assuredly make it a point that Bourne is profound on key-downs. That will put a defense on their toes to increase their awareness. By doing so, they can key in on the play and make the 49ers become predictable to a certain extent.
Now I am not saying Bourne is going to draw the entire attention of an opposing defense. That would be silly since an All-Pro tight end by the name of George Kittle is in the ranks. There is also the threat of some sort of counter play that Kyle Shanahan is sure to have in his disposal.
However, there will likely be times throughout the season where a defense will make a mental note of where Bourne. In 2019, that wasn't so much of a thing since he only started ascending in the second-half of the season. And with Deebo Samuel exploding the rest of the way, it made it fairly easy for opposing defenses to overlook Bourne.
The 49ers would love nothing more for that to happen and that could very well still be the case in 2020 should they draft a wide receiver with pick No. 13. Still, a competent defense will be alert at all times and keep it in mind that the ball could be thrown to Bourne on third-down or in the redzone.
Bourne will have to be ready for this when the 2020 regular season comes around. Judging by his daily workout instagram posts, he will be more than ready for the revenge tour next season. He most certainly will need to be with defenses likely to not take him lightly going forward.