Observations from Day 2 of 49ers OTA’s

The 49ers held their second practice of OTAs Tuesday afternoon. This will be the only session of three this week to be open to the media. Here is what stood out.

Brock Purdy

Purdy is still recovering from surgery to repair the torn UCL of the elbow in his throwing arm. The quarterback did meet with the media following practice and provided a positive update.

The 49ers had expected Purdy to reevaluated around 12 weeks post-surgery, which would have been next Friday. Purdy said he expects to begin his throwing regimen next week. This puts him slightly ahead of schedule.

Purdy also said he plans to continue working with teammates in Santa Clara throughout the OTA sessions. Over the 40 days between OTA’s and minicamp he plans to work with his personal throwing coaches in Jacksonville to work on getting his mechanics right.

Kyle Shanahan also noted the goal of having Purdy ready to start week one. To make this happen, Purdy would need to show he’s ready during practice.

This all points to Purdy being back during training camp. Stay tuned.

Quarterback competition

While Purdy is sidelined, Trey Lance and Sam Darnold are engaged in a quarterback competition of their own.

Lance has spent much of the offseason working on improving his mechanics. It showed on the field today as the quarterback showed increased accuracy and a nice ball.

Lance completed 12 of 17 passes during a combination of seven on seven and team drills. One of those incompletions was the result of the receiver falling and another due to pass interference.

There were a couple of times Lance held on to the ball, and he was off the mark on one an over route to Chris Conley which allowed the defender to knock the ball away. Lance was also late on a throw to Kyle Juszczyk in the left flat and linebacker Curtis Robinson nearly came away with the interception.

Despite the few missed opportunities, this was a solid day for Lance as he returns to the field for the first time since September.

Sam Darnold was the second quarterback in the rotation. The veteran finished 11-15 on the day.

Darnold’s throwing ability has been a hot topic this offseason and it was easy to see why. He was on target with every throw during the early portion of practice.

However, once practice ramped up it wasn’t as crisp. Despite the solid completion percentage, Darnold was often off the mark and the receivers had to stop to make the catch. On one play Darnold had Danny Gray open deep down the left sideline, but his pass held up in the air allowing the defender to make a play and force an incompletion. Darnold also fumbled the ball while pulling away from center during team drills, but Ty Davis-Price was able to scoop it up and make something out of the play.

Brandon Allen worked third in the quarterback rotation and didn’t miss a pass today. The veteran completed all seven of his pass attempts and looked like a solid backup option.

Christian McCaffrey

The running back was a full participant in practice and looked like he was playing at a different pace than the rest of the offense.

After catching a couple of passes from Lance during seven on seven, McCaffrey exploded over the left side of the line for a pair of long runs in team drills.

Drake Jackson

Jackson is expected to get the first opportunity to play opposite Nick Bosa. The second-year defensive end looks much stronger than he did during his rookie campaign. Despite the bulked-up physique, Jackson still showcased the quickness off the ball and bend around the edge that drew the 49ers to him in the 2022 draft.

Spencer Burford

Burford is another second-year player who looks noticeably bigger. One thing which stood out about Burford a year ago was his power. He showed that again today with several strong strikes during individual pass protection drills.

Kalia Davis

Davis missed all last season due to a knee injury suffered during his senior season at UCF. He looked explosive off the ball and showed good movement ability with no lingering effects from the injury.

Colton McKivitz

McKivitz will get the first shot at replacing Mike McGlinchey. He showed good footwork and hand placement while working on pass protection, his biggest area for improvement.

Nick Zakelj

Zakelj worked at center during individual drills, then moved to guard during team drills where he worked with the second unit. The second-year offensive lineman appears to be moving up.

Jaylon Moore

With Trent Williams not attending, Moore stepped into the first unit at left tackle.

Kicking Competition

Jake Moody and Zane Gonzalez each made four attempts in the middle of practice.

Kicking into a strong headwind, both hit from 33, 38 and 43 yards out before missing wide left from 48.

It was clear that Moody has the stronger leg of the two as his kicks easily cleared the goalpost.

Darrel Luter Jr.

The cornerback was impressive during rookie minicamp and that continued today.

Matched up in man coverage with Danny Gray, Luter was able to make up ground on a deep pass down the left sideline and break up the pass.

Spencer Womack

With Charvarius Ward working on a side field, Womack worked with the first unit and looked solid.

Isaiah Oliver

The 49ers new slot cornerback had a solid day. Oliver was tight in coverage on several occasions. He broke up a pair of passes including a throw from Trey Lance intended for Chris Conley.

Brayden Willis

The rookie tight end looked good while working on run blocking with the offensive tackles. During seven on seven, Willis brought in both of his targets.

The first catch for Willis came on a throw over the middle from Sam Darnold. The throw was off the mark, but Willis was able to slide to his left and make a nice catch while going to the ground.

Ronnie Bell

During rookie minicamp Bell showed he wasn’t afraid to go get the ball. Today was more of the same, as he brought in six of the seven passes which came his way.

Bell is particularly good at getting open over the middle of the field and catching the ball in traffic. He seems like a natural for Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

Jalen Graham

Graham looked like the best linebacker on the field during rookie minicamp. He didn’t seem to be too far from that today with Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw sitting out most of practice.

Graham is smooth in coverage, getting to the ball quickly. His ability to move in space along with his body type is similar to Fred Warner during his rookie season.

This article has 15 Comments

    1. I wonder whether Allen may be competing with Darnold for that third position.

  1. Love your reports Jack. You add any detail that appears to be important and avoid showing any bias or favoritism towards any of the players. Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks for the report, Jack.
    Love this time of year when every player comes in fresh and ready to get in football shape. Can’t wait for TC when we will get a clear view of those players who stand out.

    Happy to hear the good news on Kalia Davis. He showed good explosiveness on his college tape. I’d like to see him bring that to the 49ers now that he’s healthy.

    1. Hey, Everybody! The Ota’s report sounds encouraging. I’m glad everyone’s healthy again. But unfortunately the injury bug eventually will rear it’s aggravating ugly head. But with great depth on our team we should be fine. Out of all the opponents we face, the injury bug is by far the toughest. It can make or break a teams ability to make the playoffs or not. Us NINER FAITHFUL will keep our team alive and kicking it. GO NINERS!!

    2. Thank you, AES. I love covering practices and games. Watching the process of a team being built from rookie camp to through a season excites me. Hope it comes through to you all.

      1. Yes it does, Jack.
        Your passion for the game has been on display long before you were hired by the PD.
        Keep up the great reporting.

      2. Your analytical mind and football acumen comes through in your reports. Your balanced neutrality makes it very palatable!

      3. I think the PD got lucky when they hired you. You are orders of magnitude better than your predecessor.

        1. Felix, do you actually mean that, or are you just saying it. Because you seem to think others just say things they don’t really believe for no reason…….

  3. Thank you for all the reports. It sounds like things are heading in a positive direction overall. I’ll start praying for their good health!

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