Here are the highlights from the 49ers’ first day of minicamp.
1. Colin Kaepernick rolling out. The 49ers called almost as many rollout passes as pocket passes during Tuesday’s practice. The rollout and play-action waggle seem to be a staples of the new offense, unlike the past few years under Jim Harbaugh.
Kaepernick made two gorgeous throws while rolling out. First, he rolled to his right and hit Anquan Boldin near the sideline for a 15-yard gain. Next, Kaepernick rolled to his left and threw a perfect pass against his body to Quinton Patton for another 15-yard gain.
Kaepernick’s accuracy while rolling out is uncanny.
2. Vernon Davis, tight end. On the first play of team drills, Vernon Davis sprinted down the middle of the field and blew by the Niners’ starting safeties. Kaepernick over-strode in the pocket and overthrew Davis.
Kaepernick completed the next four passes he threw to Davis. Davis was Kaepernick’s favorite target during practice, his safety blanket, not Anquan Boldin who missed OTAs and still is learning the new playbook.
Davis hasn’t looked this good since 2013.
3. Blake Bell, tight end. Also made four catches during team drills, including a 15-yarder and a 20-yarder down the seam. He has outstanding hands, but can he hold onto the ball over the middle when he takes a hit in a real game? No one can touch him during minicamp.
4. Keith Reaser, cornerback. The starting right cornerback in the base defense in place of the injured Shareece Wright, and the starting slot corner in the Nickel defense in place of the injured Jimmie Ward.
During 7-on-7s, Kaepernick attempted a deep pass to Boldin, who had lined up in the slot. Reaser was covering him man to man. Reaser easily ran stride for stride with Boldin, turned his head, found the ball and snatched it out of the air before Boldin could get a finger on it.
Reaser has been terrific so far this offseason. He might already be a better slot corner than Ward, the Niners’ first-round pick last year.
5. Alex Boone, guard. Faced Tank Carradine twice during one-on-one pass-rushing drills and won both battles. Played mostly left guard during team drills.
6. Erik Pears, tackle. Faced Ahmad Brooks twice during one-on-one pass-rushing drills and won both battles.
7. DeAndrew White, wide receiver. Clearly the best of the 49ers’ undrafted rookie wide receivers. Made four catches during team drills, including the catch of the day.
It was third-and-10. Kaepernick threw a pass from the pocket as hard as he could at White, who was running a deep comeback route. The pass sailed high. White jumped as high as he could and caught Kaepernick’s fastball with his fingertips.
White has terrific hands and body control. He’s fast, too.
9. Dres Anderson, wide receiver. Beat Kenneth Acker for a 15-yard gain down the left sideline on third-and-3. Acker never turned his head. Undrafted rookie quarterback Dylan Thompson threw the pass.
THE NOT SO GOOD
1. Colin Kaepernick in the pocket. Threw two picks from the pocket: First, he fired a short pass to Boldin. The ball bounced off Boldin’s hands and Michael Wilhoite caught it. Boldin had no chance—the pass had no touch. Later, Kaepernick threw a deep pass to Boldin and Reaser picked it off.
Two of Kaepernick’s passes from the pocket got batted down at the line of scrimmage. And his intermediate throws consistently sailed high because he was over-striding.
But he made one excellent pass from the pocket—a 20-yard pass to Torrey Smith, who beat free safety Eric Reid near the left sideline.
2. Tank Carradine. Didn’t beat any of the offensive linemen during one-on-one pass-rushing drills. Easily tied up by Boone.
3. Vance McDonald. Made just one catch for five yards during team drills. Rookie tight end Blake Bell clearly is a better receiver than Vance McDonald, who’s in his third season. Don’t be surprised if Bell beats out McDonald for the No. 2 tight end job.