As the 49ers continue to look for a receiver to step up and replace Michael Crabtree, one candidate has an ace in the hole.
His best friend is the quarterback.
“It’s almost like you go somewhere and you realize someone is your cousin, and since we met we have been inseparable,” Ricardo Lockette tells the Albany Herald. An Albany native, Lockette was in town to participate in Deion Branch’s annual youth football camp.
“The first time we met was at the NFL [Scouting] Combine, and I was like, ‘Man, you can throw.’ Then he was like, ‘Man, you are fast,’” Lockette said. “When I texted him last year and told him I was on my way to San Fran, he got really excited. When we saw each other we had this big hug like we grew up with each other.”
Kaepernick arrived via the second round of the 2011 draft. Lockette was undrafted by the Seahawks, appearing in two games as a rookie and catching two passes. One went for 44 yards, and the other was a 61-yard touchdown.
But that wasn’t enough to make the team in Seattle last season, or to stay on the practice squad. It ended in September 2012, the 49ers stepped in, and now Lockette is a valued member of the organization — and a trusted friend of Kaepernick.
Quarterback and receiver live together in San Francisco, and they spent part of the offseason training together in Atlanta.
“We do everything together,” Lockette said. “We have basketball goals around the house and bet each other with those. We play Madden and Call of Duty, but when we aren’t doing that we pop quiz each other about the playbook. I might be in the shower and he might walk by the bathroom and yell, ‘Hey, what do you have on Colorado 750?’ I will tell him a route, but if it’s wrong he will come in and throw something over the shower curtain.”
In the end, the reps will go to the players coach Jim Harbaugh deems the most worthy. But if having a rapport with the quarterback means anything (and surely it does) it will help Lockette.