SANTA CLARA – The 49ers practiced in shorts and shells Saturday afternoon. Here are the highlights.
1. WR Torrey Smith. Seemed to jam his right ring finger catching a pass from Colin Kaepernick during warmups. Smith was in visible pain for a few minutes as he shook his hand and held his finger. But apparently the injury wasn’t a serious. A few minutes later during one-on-one drills Smith ran a fade route to the back corner of the end zone, jumped and made a touchdown catch over cornerback Tramaine Brock. I’ve never seen Smith lose during one on ones.
2. DL Arik Armstead. Perhaps the most powerful bull-rusher on the defensive line. Almost every time he participates in one-on-one pass-rushing drills, he gets his hands under the offensive lineman’s pads and pushes him back about 10 yards. Today, Armstead pushed around rookie sixth-round pick Ian Silberman.
3. WR DiAndre Campbell. The best undrafted rookie receiver on the field today. Beat Niners’ No. 3 cornerback Dontae Johnson with a double move during one on ones and made three catches during team drills, including a diving catch on a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage.
4. FS Eric Reid. Blaine Gabbert threw a pass over the middle to undrafted rookie receiver Issac Blakeney, and the pass was too high. Blakeney jumped, tipped it even higher into the air and it fell into the hands of Eric Reid.
5. TE Vance McDonald. Finally caught the pass he’s been struggling to catch his entire career – the deep pass down the seam. Today he ran that route on the first play of team drills and was open, but Colin Kaepernick overthrew him. They tried the play again a few minutes later and this time Kaepernick hit McDonald in stride.
THE NOT SO GOOD
1. TE Blake Bell. Plays like a stiff during one on ones. Has almost zero ability to make moves and free himself from man coverage. Seems like a tall, straight-line athlete, and maybe that’s why they call him “The Belldozer.”
2. OLB Corey Lemonier. Played right outside linebacker for the first-team defense during team drills today, and seems to be first in line to replace Aldon Smith in the starting lineup. But during one-on-one pass-rushing drills Lemonier couldn’t beat 2013 undrafted free agent Sean Hooey or 2015 seventh-round pick Trent Brown. I don’t see how the Niners can play Lemonier during passing downs next season. He’s a pass-rushing liability.