Even before his first opportunity to put on pads at the NFL level, rookie wide receiver Trent Taylor's name was already buzzing. During the San Francisco 49ers offseason program, Taylor was quick to be recognized as a standout rookie with his physicality and shifty playmaking skills.
Almost two months following the end of the 49ers minicamp, the narrative remains the same. The rookie receiver continues to impress throughout his first week of training camp. Taylor has made highlight-reel plays in three consecutive practices with toe-tapping catches and one-handed grabs.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke highly of the 49ers fifth-round pick, praising Taylor's quickness and ability to get up field.
"Trent's got a good skill set," Shanahan said. "He plays well on the inside, he's good at separating and beating man, but that was one of the things that we liked about him watching him in college. He's not scared of contact. It's a very violent game and when you're playing on the inside all the time and you're thinking about that stuff it's hard to perform well. You can tell Trent doesn't worry about that part of the game."
View the top images from the seventh practice of 2017 training camp presented by SAP.
Taylor finds himself competing behind veteran receiver Jeremy Kerley for the slot position and looks to add versatility to a room that ranked last in receiving yards in 2016.
"(Trent's) a good young kid," Kerley said. "I'm going to make sure I can help him as much as I can. Give him that knowledge. I see a lot of potential in him. He's another piece to this puzzle that we're trying to put together. As much I can help him, he can help the team."
The Louisiana Tech product posted a school record of 327 receptions to go along with 4,179 yards and 32 touchdowns in three seasons with the Bulldogs. He led the nation with 136 receptions and 1,803 receiving yards in 2016 and was named MVP of the Armed Forces Bowl. Those aren't the kind of numbers you'd expect from the 5-foot-8, 181-pound receiver.
"Trent's not scared of anything," Shanahan added. "He's not a huge guy, but he's not going to turn anything down. He's going to do his job. He's going to get in front of a guy and he's going to bring it as hard as he can. If you don't do that in our offense, you can't play it for us."
Taylor has also thrown his name into the conversation to be the team's punt returner, something he did at LA Tech. He returned 58 punts for a total of 482 yards over his four-year career.
Taylor appears to be ahead of the curve and may force his way into the lineup sooner rather than later. If the shifty receiver continues to perform anything like his training camp debut, Faithful can expect a big impact from the compact rookie in 2017.