Niners Live continues to evaluate key players from their respective units all season long. The focus now shifts to wide receiver Pierre Garcon through his first three games as we show you why he may be the best free agent pickup in the NFL this season.
Up Close and Personal
Entering his 10th NFL Season, Pierre Garcon has seen his share of successes as well as tough times. He was groomed early in his career by future Hall of Famers Peyton Manning and fellow wide receiver Marvin Harrison during his time with the Indianapolis Colts. The former 6th round pick from Mt. Union College then went on to sign with the Washington Redskins during the 2012 season. In 2013, while current 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan was Washington Offensive Coordinator, Garcon enjoyed his most productive season as a pro, hauling 113 catches out of 181 targets for 1,346 yards. If you take away his rookie season, Garcon has never finished with less than 68 receptions per year or 630 receiving yards. He also has a current streak of 67 consecutive games as a starter. Yet, when he signed a 5-year $47.5 million dollar contract which included $17 million in guaranteed money along with a $12 million dollar signing bonus, many people believed the 49ers paid way too much. Yet so far, Garcon has been the 49ers most effective receiver.
First Three Games
In his first three games as a 49er, Garcon has caught 64 percent of his targets, which comes to 16 catches for 249 yards. His best game by far was against the Los Angeles Rams in week 3. In these highlights, Garcon caught 7 passes for 142 yards including a connection with Brian Hoyer for 59 yards in the 2nd half. He was seen as a guy that can be counted on to make the tough catches on third down and regarded as having some of the best pair of hands in the league. However, these highlights show that even at age 31, Garcon has no problem getting separation from the cornerback, even on deep routes. We can go further and cite the many other times this season that Garcon was wide open, but because Brian Hoyer was fixated on one target, Garcon was never thrown to. His overall grade is an 85.1, where you expect a top receiver to be. Broken down, Garcon has played a total of 156 snaps, 99 receiving and 57 blocking. He scores an 84.4 receiving, 60 on runs and 71.3 for run blocking. He is unquestionably the leader of this 49ers’ receiving core.
A Final Word
It is now two seasons since Anquan Boldin played for the 49ers. At 6’1” 211 lbs. Pierre Garcon is the biggest 49ers receiver playing. His size alone at the line of scrimmage gives him a huge advantage over the secondary, and provides Brian Hoyer with a big target. While it is customary to spread the ball around in Kyle Shanahan’s complex offensive system, it may be best to get the ball to Garcon more often until teams try to ultimately shut him down. Even in this season of rebuilding, Garcon is seen as the mentor to the younger corps of receivers: mainly, Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne and Victor Bolden, who have a load of potential, but not the experience to start at this level. Still, the 49er Faithful cannot continue to stomach key moments where the wrong receiver drops a crucial pass which determines the outcome of a game. That is less likely to happen with the ball in Pierre Garcon’s hands.
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author and new Staff Writer @NinersLive.net, David Edmondson. Content Creator, Editor, Sequoia Sims