Marquise Goodwin has reinvented himself as a receiver with the 49ers. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Marquise Goodwin has reinvented himself as a receiver with the 49ers. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Marquise Goodwin’s emergence makes 49ers’ search for receivers easier

SANTA CLARA — Before this season, Marquise Goodwin was in a dangerous spot. Typecast as a straight-line route-runner by the Buffalo Bills, he didn’t seem likely to emerge as a regular contributor to an NFL offense.

Thirteen games into his tenure with the 49ers, Goodwin has proven that isn’t the case, and that the talent evaluators were wrong.

The 2012 Olympic track star already has 12 more catches than his previous career high and is gaining more prominence in Kyle Shanahan’s offense by the week. Since Pierre Garcon was put on the injured reserve before Week 9, Goodwin has averaged 86.8 yards per game.

“He’s a guy, to me, who’s become more of a pro in a good way as the year has gone on,” Shanahan said Monday, a day after Goodwin turned six catches into 106 yards against the Houston Texans.

He’s proven to be a dynamic receiver who has more than just physical gifts.

When the 49ers signed him to a modest two-year, $6 million contract, Shanahan envisioned him running the whole route tree. And Goodwin has delivered on expectations.

For Goodwin, this year’s performance validates the decision to gamble on himself. He wanted to change the way he was perceived in the NFL, and now that he has a quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo who can help him realize his massive potential, Goodwin sees nothing but opportunity ahead.

“Getting the ball in stride, there’s nothing like it. Especially when you run like I do,” he said Wednesday.

Goodwin isn’t a perfect receiver. He has the third highest drop-rate in the league, according to Pro Football Focus, behind Amari Cooper and Marqise Lee.

But it isn’t as simple a metric as it would seem. Since Garoppolo has taken control of the offense, he has dropped a lower rate of catchable balls. But the 49ers will gladly exchange a few botched balls for Goodwin’s game-changing abilities. (Some other names in the top 11 for drop rate this season: Brandin Cooks, Keenan Allen and Robby Anderson, all of whom are in the top 10 for receiving yards.)

“If you’re running that fast, I know it’s not that easy to catch it,” fellow Niners receiver Trent Taylor said Wednesday. “… Watching [Goodwin] everyday in practice, everytime you see him run and catch the ball, your eyes get wide, like, ‘Wow. that’s impressive.’ It doesn’t get old watching it.”

Garoppolo first realized Goodwin’s first-rate skills a year before they united in Santa Clara, when the pair were opponents in the AFC West. The former Tom Brady backup was watching tape and he saw Goodwin burn future Hall of Fame cornerback Darrelle Revis down the sideline. Goodwin finished with 112 yards on two catches in that game.

“I’ve been around a lot of fast guys, but he’s up there. Like I said, it’s just world-class,” Garoppolo said.

The growth of Goodwin — who turned 27 in November — means the 49ers have a burner who can play outside receiver and be a consistent home-run hitter. If general manager John Lynch’s personnel team can find a taller pass-catcher to complement Goodwin and Taylor in the slot — to go with the steady Garcon — this team is primed to score points in droves for years to come.

Contact Examiner Sports Editor Jacob C. Palmer at jpalmer@sfexaminer.com or on Twitter, @jacobc_palmer.jimmy garoppolokyle shanahanmarquise goodwinSan Francisco 49ers

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF moves into purple tier, triggering curfew and business shutdowns

San Francisco moved into the state’s purple COVID-19 tier Saturday, requiring The… Continue reading

San Francisco lacks housing data that would let it track rental vacancies and prices. New legislation is seeking to change that.<ins> (Photo by Joel Angel Jurez/2016 Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Landlords blast proposal to require annual report on rentals as invasion of privacy

Housing inventory could give city better data on housing vacancies, affordability

University of San Francisco head coach Todd Golden coaches his team on defense during a 2019 gameat War Memorial Gymnasium on the campus of the University of San Francisco. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Stunner in Bubbleville: USF upsets fourth-ranked Virginia

Less than 48 hours removed from a loss to a feeble UMass… Continue reading

Health care workers would be the first group in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images/TNS)
Hope on the way: Here’s what to know about California’s COVID-19 vaccine plan

The first batch of doses could hit the state as soon as early December

The Big Game was played Friday at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. (Shutterstock)
Stanford blocks extra point to stun Cal, win 123rd Big Game 24-23

The 123rd edition of the Big Game featured a number of firsts.… Continue reading

Most Read