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Two 49ers Named Second-year Players Poised for Breakout Seasons

Posted Feb 28, 2018

Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report named two members of San Francisco’s 2017 rookie class as players ready for breakout sophomore campaigns.

The official start of the 2018 league year begins on March 14 and it’s time to start looking at some rookies who can make a jump in year two.

Brad Gagnon from Bleacher Report released a list of 15 players who are poised for breakout sophomore seasons and two members of the 49ers made the cut.

WR Trent Taylor

The fifth-round pick from a year ago became a go-to target and a key third-down weapon for Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers offense. Sixty-three percent of Taylor’s receptions in his rookie season came on third downs. The wideout hauled in 43 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns.

“Seventeen of Taylor's 43 receptions and 191 of his 430 yards came as Garoppolo ran the offense during the final five weeks of the season,” Gagnon said.

“Watch for those two to build a better rapport over the course of their first offseason together in San Francisco and for Taylor's role to increase as a result.”

CB Ahkello Witherspoon

The team’s third-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft worked his way to become the team’s No. 1 corner by the end of the season. He appeared in 12 and started nine games. Witherspoon notched 32 tackles, picked off two passes and forced one fumble during his rookie campaign.

“Witherspoon didn't even see the field until October, but he was a regular starter by Halloween,” Gagnon explained.

Per PFF, he allowed a passer rating of just 66.4 between Week 13 and Week 16, and he didn't surrender a touchdown after Week 12. San Francisco games will likely get a lot more attention in 2018. While many of the viewers who tune in will do so to see Garoppolo, they might also notice how good the team's 6'3" second-year corner is.”

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