Notes and observations from today’s practice

Fourth-and-long, baseball draft picks and other notes from today’s voluntary practice in Santa Clara:

• The 49ers spent the first team period practicing fourth-and long plays, everything from fourth-and-4 to fourth-and-10.
• Alex Smith was feeling it today. The QB overthrew a few receivers, but he fired several touchdown passes, including two strikes to Vernon Davis and one to Delanie Walker.


• Rookie LB Navorro Bowman shouted an expletive after getting beat (but just barely) on Smith’s scoring throw to Walker.
• The 49ers signed T Matt Kopa, an undrafted rookie from Stanford who had been trying to get a sixth year of college eligibility. Kopa dropped his appeal, and was on the field in Santa Clara this morning to observe practice. He signed later in the day after passing a physical. Kopa (6-6, 303) missed most of the 2009 season with a foot injury.
• Nice plays by S Michael Lewis (broke up David Carr’s pass to Josh Morgan in end zone), RB Frank Gore (blitz pickup vs. Brandon Long), Isaac Sopoaga (blew up handoff), DE Justin Smith (knocked down TE Nate Byham while rushing).
• Michael Crabtree beat Tarell Brown on a deep pass and Brown came up limping after the play. Rookie Phillip Adams replaced Brown at LCB with the first-team defense.
• Ted Ginn made his nicest catch so far this offseason, a fingertip grab vs. Karl Paymah inside the 5-yard line.
• Scott McKillop replaced Take Spikes at ILB during some fourth-and-long plays.
• Rookie S Taylor Mays had very limited work in team period.
• Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye said that Nate Davis’ development is impeded to some degree by the presence of David Carr, with whom he has to share practice reps. Raye believes Davis will ultimately compete for the No. 2 job. “When we finish this segment of this pre-practice stuff, I would hope that he will be in competition with David Carr for the backup spot in August,” he said. “I would hope that would be the case.”
• RB Anthony Dixon’s younger brother Deshun, a senior at Terry High School in Mississippi, went to the Tampa Bay Rays in the 10th round of the 2010 MLB draft. Deshun is a switch-hitting outfielder. Anthony Dixon played baseball through high school, but said ultimately “my heart wasn’t in it.”
• LB Matt Wilhelm, former 49ers RB Charlie Garner and Ryan Nece, son of Hall of Fame S Ronnie Lott, are among the players who will take part in this year’s NFL Broadcast Boot Camp. It teaches athletes skills in areas like editing, radio production, control room operation, production meetings and field reporting.

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