Now, in 2023, they rewind, and it just never came to be.
Most had high hopes for Tolbert going into preseason, so the question is: why?
Why didn’t Jalen Tolbert win the starting spot in 2023.
In my opinion, it comes down to experience.
If you know about Tolbert’s sports history, he mostly played baseball in his youth. It wasn’t until the 11th grade that Tolbert started dabbling in football. During his freshman year, he tallied just 5 receptions for 60 years; his sophomore year he was 27 for 521; during his junior year he caught 64 passes for 1,085 yards, and ended his college career with 84 catches totaling 1,474 yards, according to sports-reference.com.
After the draft, we all heard about how Tolbert was a standout in camp. He probably was. Unless you don’t believe the testimony of people attending camp. Then there was preseason. And we saw maybe a little glimpse of what Tolbert could do on a single pass play for 17 yards, I believe it was.
Then, he played a handful of plays versus the Bears, and it never really amounted to much. But if you consider he made a considerable leap every year in college, then it’s reasonable to expect he might turn things around after an off-season in 2023.
It’s not like he never got open. There were times when he was wide open, sometimes for a touchdown even. But Dak was often looking at something else on the field.. I look for Tolbert to be a bigger part of the offense next season if he can digest the playbook and the speed of the NFL.
McCarthy also told the media he had a hamstring issue, so maybe there was something to that. Or maybe there wasn’t. Either way, while it’s still too early to judge; it’s likely also to risky to sit on your hands and avoid drafting a receiver in the 2023 NFL draft.