SANTA CLARA -- While most of the focus has been on what the young 49ers receivers have learned from veteran Emmanuel Sanders since he arrived, it's what he's learned from them that has made the experience so unique.
Kendrick Bourne leads the wide receivers with five touchdowns on the season which all were made after the arrival of Sanders to the club.
Deebo Samuel’s 802 receiving yards leads the wide receivers group. Samuel’s production also jumped dramatically after Sanders' arrival with 42 of his 57 receptions for 634 yards happening in Week 8 or after.
Sanders' maturity and experience has been invaluable to both Bourne and Samuel but he claims the benefit has been mutual. Sanders has been rejuvenated by the youth and energy of the two young wide receivers.
“When you got guys like Kendrick Bourne in the locker room dancing and blasting music, doing all kinds of dance moves it’s kind of hard to not be loose,” Sanders said. "Even this morning in the locker room he was dancing, he and Deebo Samuel and all the rest of the young guys, I looked over at Sherm [Richard Sherman], I said man, these guys keep us young.
“Guys like that are good for the ecosystem of this team. Guys like me and Sherm are good for the playoff experience, to let them understand the magnitude of what we need to accomplish. So I think we have a well-balanced team.
It’s not just the youthful enthusiasm that is beneficial to Sanders and the team. He has also learned valuable techniques from both Bourne and Samuel.
“Just to see Deebo and K.B. and how these guys practice, and how they run through the ball right after the catch,” Sanders said. “You know, it’s like, let me try to fit in with these guys.
“Because you know, one thing about this league is that you can be in year 10 and you take a guy in year one, and if you don’t think you can learn from a guy in year one, you’re not going to make it too long in this league. I feel like everybody can learn something from somebody.”
While Bourne and Samuel lead the group in a few categories, Sanders has been no slouch since joining the 49ers. Not only did he survive playing 17 weeks straight, at times with a rib cartilage injury, but he also totaled 36 catches for 502 yards with the club giving him 13.9 average yards per catch.
[RELATED: Sanders appreciate bye week more than anyone]
“If you watch Kendrick Bourne run through a football even when you go to the games, a lot of guys in this league, I’ve been in this league a long time and a lot of guys don’t run through the football like that,” Sanders said. “He has exceptional hands and Deebo and the way that he runs after the catch. That’s something that I try to pick up off those guys.”
Sanders isn’t worried about the young locker room as they head to the playoffs, many for the first time. He believes the increased intensity through the second half of the schedule forced the team to be “locked-in” all season.