Life is pretty good these days if you’re a former Eastern Washington wide receiver in California.
While Cooper Kupp is making headlines with the Rams in Los Angeles, his former teammate Kendrick Bourne is raising eyebrows as a free agent with the San Francisco 49ers.
Bourne still faces an uphill battle to make the final roster, but he’s making big plays in practice and getting reps with the offensive starters.
At 6-foot-1, he adds size to a smallish group. Last week, quarterback Brian Hoyer found Bourne for a touchdown during a red-zone drill.
“I’m feeling confident right now,” said Bourne, who had 79 catches for 1,201 yards last year as an Eagles senior. “I’ve got to see the coverages, know what defensive backs are doing and make plays.”
“I’m working my tail off, trying to earn a spot. I’m doing everything I can,” Bourne told 49ers.com.
Bourne participated in the NFL Combine in February, but his stock fell after a poor time in the 40-yard dash. However, his 6.73-second three-cone drill was near the top of his class and supported his claim to be “more quick than fast.”
“I was definitely feeling like I could have gotten drafted,” Bourne said. “I ran slow which hurt my cause. I feel like I’m up to par with Cooper Kupp.”
Bourne was on the 49ers’ radar during the draft, and they called him midway through the seventh round with an offer to be a priority free agent.
The offer was attractive for Bourne, who liked the team’s clean slate with new general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan.
According to reports, Bourne is a quick study on the playbook and never makes the same mistake. He’s become a favorite option on intermediate routes.
San Francisco is expected to keep just six receivers on the 53-man roster.