SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me during Day 2 of 49ers minicamp.
1. QB Colin Kaepernick. Replaced Thad Lewis as the No. 2 quarterback during 3-on-3s and 7-on-7s, and completed 11 of 14 pass attempts. Two of those passes were dropped, meaning Kaepernick was locked in. He led two drives during a red-zone drill and finished both drives with touchdown passes – one to Dres Anderson and another to Bruce Miller.
2. WR Torrey Smith. Beat Jimmie Ward once with a go route to catch a deep pass before falling out of bounds, beat Chris Davis once with a corner route for a touchdown during a red zone drill and and beat Tramaine Brock four times – twice with a curl route, once with a smoke route and once with a slant over the middle. On the slant, Smith outran Brock across the field and up the sideline for an easy touchdown.
3. WR Quinton Patton. By far his best practice of the offseason. Schooled rookie corner Rashard Robinson with a hard square-in route during 3-on-3s. Also beat Kenneth Acker and Jimmie Ward with crisp curl routes.
4. WR Bruce Ellington. Easily beat Chris Davis to the back corner of the end zone for a touchdown in a red-zone drill. On that play, running backs Tom Rathman yelled, “Touchdown! Touchdown!” before the center even snapped the ball. Rathman must not think highly of Davis.
5. WR Dres Anderson. Beat Robinson for a 14-yard gain with a deep curl route on third-and-8. The pass from Thad Lewis was late, which allowed Robinson to recover and swipe at the ball. But Anderson jumped and caught it over Robinson’s outstretched hand.
6. WR DeAndre Smelter. Participated during 3-on-3s and 7-on-7s for the first time since Week 1 of OTAs and made his first catch in front of the media this offseason. Still seemed injured, though. Made a cut in the end zone during a positional drill, grimaced and started limping. Hard to know why. Either his surgically repaired knee bothers him, or he has new injuries.
7. RB Shaun Draughn. Made a 20-yard catch downfield on a wheel route up the seam. Jumped and extended his arms like a wide receiver to catch the ball.
8. TE Vance McDonald. Played with the first-team offense more than any other tight end. Lined up both on the line and in the slot, and dropped zero passes for the second practice in a row.
9. TE Je’Ron Hamm. Made two twisting catches on back-shoulder fades while running up the seam.
10. DE Arik Armstead. Lined up in a two-point stance at right defensive end in the 49ers’ Nickel defense most of practice, while Aaron Lynch lined up at left defensive end and Quinton Dial and Mike Purcell lined up at the defensive tackle spots. Interesting way to use Armstead in sub-packages on running downs such as first-and-10. Much tougher to take out his long legs with combination blocks when he’s rushing from the edge as opposed to the inside.
11. NT Ronald Blair. Played with the second-team defense and lined up at 1-technnique, slightly to the side of the center. Did not face the line of scrimmage – faced the center while turning his body diagonally. Frequently blew by backup center Marcus Martin.
THE NOT SO GOOD
1. QB Blaine Gabbert. Completed 12 of his first 13 passes, then completed just 10 of his next 18. Particularly struggled with longer passes, overthrowing a couple by a cool 10 yards.
2. TE Bruce Miller. Dropped back-to-back bullet passes thrown by Kaepernick in the red zone. The first pass was a bullet up the seam; the second a bullet near the sideline. Miller is much more comfortable catching touch passes in the flat or over his shoulder.
3. CB Jimmie Ward. Played both right and left cornerback for the first time this offseason and gave up three catches, including a deep catch to Torrey Smith. Also flagged once for holding and once for illegal hands to the face.
4. CB Tramaine Brock. After getting abused most of practice by Torrey Smith, Brock gave up a touchdown catch to DiAndre Campbell in the red zone. Campbell beat Brock with a simple slant route and Brock couldn’t recover. Will be interesting to see how Brock handles himself during the season, considering all the man coverage the Niners will use. He certainly didn’t handle himself well today.
5. CB Rashard Robinson. Beaten four times and flagged once for illegal hands to the face of a receiver. After Robinson gave up catch No. 4, both Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington yelled, “That’s on you, 33!” from the sideline, amused by the brash rookie’s poor coverage.
6. CB Keith Reaser. Beaten over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, including twice for touchdowns. Reaser might be the least confident cornerback I’ve ever seen in the NFL. He almost looks like he expects to get beaten.
7. CB Chris Davis. The first-team nickel back only because Reaser is so bad. Davis isn’t much better, though. He also gave up a touchdown in the red zone. The Niners need a new nickel fast.