Despite Optimism for Kendrick Bourne, be Prepared to Tame Expectations

Nicholas Cothrel

The San Francisco 49ers' wide receiving corps has been the most talked-about position group heading into the 2020 season. 

The 49ers have a lot of options at wide receiver but several of them aren't sure things to make the squad when the team breaks camp. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is going to have tough decisions to make when picking which guys he keeps and which players are left off the roster.

However, wide receiver Kendrick Bourne has received extraordinary praise by the fan base this offseason. Whether that's because they feel he's about to have a breakout year or because he's been constantly posting workout videos on his social media accounts, the hype is strong. 

Bourne is a quality complement in the passing game. But he never has exceeded more than 500 receiving yards in any of his three NFL seasons.

To assume he's going to all of a sudden put up numbers of 700-800 receiving yards is hyperbolic. And if the coaching staff thought Bourne was ready to do so, they likely wouldn't have drafted two wide receivers, including Brandon Aiyuk in Round 1. 

Bourne has had big moments for the 49ers, coming up with crucial catches in the red zone. He has recorded nine touchdowns over the last two years, but Kyle Shanahan hasn't called his number much when they aren't inside the 20-yard line.

Bourne is a prototypical No.3 receiver. That doesn't mean he's bad -- he's not. Although, there are numerous No.3 receivers in the NFL.

He's efficient when called upon but don't expect a career year in which Bourne is shattering all of his past season's production like the hype is leading onto. Also remember, Shanahan has a run-first offensive approach. If the opposing teams' defensive game plan is not up to par, Shanahan will run the ball 30-plus times a game. 

He's no stranger to pounding the rock in the running game.


Comments (3)
No. 1-2
Mitchell Alan
Mitchell Alan

I like Bourne, but just like him as okay. Solid redzone, good hands, but not so speedy.

I read Grant Cohn and a few other great insiders. Therefore I haven't heard ANY of the hype about Bourne. I mean nada.

Bourne had a fairly productive 2019, and has hyped himself well with those happy, amusing agility videos. But who else is promoting this guy?


I don’t get the hype. He’s good inside the 10 yard line as a redzone threat but he brings no speed or YAC to the offense. That’s why he hasn’t had more than 500
Yards in his career. His Yards per catch is similar to that of a tight end. He can’t stretch the field so corners just play him tight because they know he won’t beat them over the top. He also had some really bad drops. He catches the hard ones but drops the easy ones. That’s not someone you want as a starting receiver. If the 49ers coaching staff gets it right, Deebo Aiyuk and Hurd will be the top 3 WRS this year.