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When It's Goal-to-Go, Kendrick Bourne is Gold

Put some respect on Kendrick Bourne’s name. He’s one of the best receiving threats inside the ten in the game.

Put some respect on Kendrick Bourne’s name. He’s one of the best receiving threats inside the 10 in the game.

No, I’m not joking. Statistically speaking, Bourne is one of the best receivers inside the 10-yard line. His production over the last two seasons only trails Michael Thomas and Travis Kelce, and his efficiency is in a class of its own.

Inside the 10-yard line touchdown leaders since 2018 (including postseason):

T-1. Michael Thomas: 11 Touchdowns on 23 targets (47.8%)

T-1. Travis Kelce: 11 Touchdowns on 24 targets (45.8%)

T-3. Kendrick Bourne: 10 Touchdowns on 11 targets (90.9%)

T-3. Zach Ertz: 10 Touchdowns on 15 targets (66.6%)

T-5. Kenny Golladay: 9 Touchdowns on 19 targets (47.4%)

T-5. Austin Hooper: 9 Touchdowns on 19 targets (47.4%)

T-7. Cooper Kupp: 8 Touchdowns on 16 targets (50%)

T-7. Davante Adams: 8 Touchdowns on 13 targets (61.5%)

T-7. T.Y. Hilton: 8 Touchdowns on 16 targets (50%)

*Targets exclude playoffs*

Inside the 10-yard line touchdown leaders in 2019 (including postseason):

T-1. Kendrick Bourne: 6 Touchdowns on 12.8% of the 49ers inside the ten targets

T-1. Cooper Kupp: 6 Touchdowns on 28.6% of the Rams inside the ten targets

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T-1. Kenny Golladay: 6 Touchdowns on 34.2% of the Lions inside the ten targets

T-4. Marvin Jones: 5 Touchdowns on 23.7% of the Lions inside the ten targets

T-4. Julio Jones: 5 Touchdowns on 25% of the Falcons inside the ten targets

T-4. Austin Hooper: 5 Touchdowns on 28.1% of the Falcons inside the ten targets

T-4. Allen Robinson: 5 Touchdowns on 33.3% of the Bears inside the ten targets

All of the players on the list of above are recognized as some of the best at their positions. Bourne on the other hand is not. Understandably so. Bourne went undrafted, while the others were early round draft picks. The others are focal points in their offenses, and put up big numbers. Bourne has never consistently been more than a fourth option, but that will change this year.

This offseason, there has been a lot of debate regarding how Bourne will do as a featured receiver. While he may not have a ginormous season in terms of receptions and yards, expect his receiving touchdowns to continue to rise.

Bourne is the team’s best pass catcher in the red zone. It’s not George Kittle or Deebo Samuel. The numbers speak for itself. Bourne is a tremendous threat, specifically inside the 10. That is also where every touchdown of his career has come from.

Here’s what makes Bourne a great goal-to-go receiver:

  • Ability to high-point the football and boxout corners
    • Bourne can pluck the ball out of the air, and make acrobatic catches look easy. He has very aggressive hands, and attacks the football. He also has great body control, and understands how to use his body to shield off defenders.
  • Beats one-on-one coverage over the middle with ease
    • Six of Bourne’s ten career touchdowns came on inward breaking routes, which resulted in him catching the ball in the end zone (No YAC). Time and time again, he beats man coverage with a convincing jab step to the outside, before breaking over the middle for a touchdown.
  • Gets open on broken plays
    • Bourne has a great feel for finding soft spots in the defense, when plays breakdown. This was evident in the Saint’s game last season, as well as the preseason game against the Chargers.
  • Kyle Shanahan:
    • Of course Bourne isn’t the sole reason over 90% of his targets inside the 10 result in touchdowns. He has a great creative play-caller to help him get open. 

Without a doubt, Bourne will receive a higher share of red zone targets this year. He’s earned it. With additional targets, it’s unlikely he scores on over 90% of his them. But the trade off is that those extra opportunities translate to more touchdowns for #84.

Feed Kendrick Bourne inside the red zone.

Follow me on Twitter: @NinerNick_22