San Francisco 49ers Breakout Candidate: Ricardo Lockette
The life of an undrafted free agent can be one in which you grind and hope to get the opportunity to show that you can play. If and when that times comes, it is necessary to take full advantage of it as a player. Now entering his third season as a player, wide receiver Ricardo Lockette will get that chance in training camp with the San Francisco 49ers.
In his first two seasons, Lockette has seen very minimal playing time, first with the Seattle Seahawks and now with the 49ers. In those two seasons, Lockette has two receptions for 105 yards and one touchdown. Both of those receptions came late in the 2011 season.
During the 2012 season, Lockette was a late training camp cut by the Seahawks but then signed on with the 49ers a few weeks into the season. During the season, Lockette was a practice squad player and was not active during any game.
While it would appear that Lockette is the type of player who is once again destined to either being cut, staying as a practice squad player, or being a player on special teams, the injury suffered by Michael Crabtree and the uncertainty of the readiness of Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams for the start of the season have opened the door for Lockette to be able to make the 53-man roster.
Given that Colin Kaepernick has a strong arm, Lockette has the chance to fill a role that could be useful and vital for the 49ers’ offense. If Lockette shows to be a reliable deep threat, in theory, he gives the 49ers’ offense a much needed element that in turn will open up defenses and give the running game and the more possession-type receivers room to operate.
Also, Lockette was one of the guys who spent his offseason working out with Kaepernick, a clear sign that there is already a developing comfort level between wide receiver and quarterback.
Often times, players like Lockette have to grind their way on practice squads, bounce around from team to team before they get a chance to prove that they are capable of playing in the NFL. Lockette now has the opportunity to prove his worth with the 49ers as a wide receiver, and if he takes advantage of it, he could have a chance at playing a vital role.