SANTA CLARA – Here are the highlights of the 49ers’ seventh padded practice of training camp.
1. S Jaquiski Tartt. Played free safety for the second-team defense and picked off Colin Kaepernick during seven on sevens. On that play, Kaepernick stared down his intended target, Vernon Davis, who was running a post route. Kaepernick seemed to expect Davis to run a straight seam route, and the pass sailed right behind Davis’ head, right into the hands of Tartt, who was reading Kaepernick’s eyes. After the play Kaepernick raised his hand to take the blame for the interception.
2. TE Derek Carrier. Made five catches and dropped zero during team drills. Carrier almost never drops a pass, and clearly is the second-best receiving tight end on the roster behind starter Vernon Davis.
3. CB Kenneth Acker. The only defensive back who broke up a pass during a three-on-three drill. The pass was intended for tight end Xavier Grimble, who was running a corner route. Acker was playing zone coverage in front of Grimble. Blaine Gabbert tried to loft the pass over Acker, who jumped and dropped the interception.
4. RB Kendall Gaskins. The fifth-string running on the depth chart back after Carlos Hyde, Reggie Bush, Mike Davis and Jarryd Hayne (in that order). Hyde clearly is the best running back on the roster, but Gaskins seems like the second-best through two weeks of training camp (keep in mind it’s hard to evaluate running backs in practice when there’s no live tackling). Gaskins is a big, powerful running back who has a terrific feel for when to cut during stretch zone plays. When he carries the ball during practice he frequently reaches the second-level of the defense. He reminds me of Lorenzo Taliaferro, the Baltimore Ravens’ backup running back.
5. QB Colin Kaepernick. Completed seven-of-nine passes during 11 on 11’s just one day after he completed 10-of-14 passes during 11 on 11’s. Earlier in camp Kaepernick struggled during full team drills—he seemed uncomfortable behind the Niners’ offensive line. Now he seems confident.
THE NOT SO GOOD
1. TE Vance McDonald. Dropped a pass for the second day in a row. Today, he dropped one in the end zone when he was open – he had a step on NaVorro Bowman. Gabbert’s pass hit McDonald in stride and he just dropped it. I praised McDonald earlier in the week for improving his hands, but my praise seems to have been premature.