The 49ers held their sixth practice of OTAs Wednesday afternoon. Today will be the only session of three this week to be open to the media. Here is what stood out.
The free-agent acquisition from Pittsburgh had a busy day on Wednesday. McCloud’s five targets were the most of any receiver, and he hauled in four of them.
The one ball McCloud did not bring in was through no fault of his own. McCloud was wide open deep down the left sideline, but Nate Sudfeld’s pass was too strong and fell incomplete.
The second-year cornerback worked with the starters during the team and 7-on-7 periods in place of Charvarius Ward.
On the fourth play of the day, Thomas was able to get his hand in the way of a deep throw down the left sideline from Trey Lance to Marcus Johnson. Johnson had a couple of steps on Thomas, but the pass from Lance was a little short. The underthrow from Lance allowed Thomas to catch up and make a play on the ball.
Sermon saw a lot of action with the first unit early in practice, a change from a week ago when Jeff Wilson Jr and JaMycal Hasty split those reps.
Sermon did not make the most of his opportunity, fumbling the ball away on his first carry of the day after picking up five yards over the left side.
The undrafted free agent rookie impressed for the second practice in a row, showing good vision and explosiveness.
Mason saw a hole open in the middle on a zone run to the left and exploded through, untouched for a big gain.
Elijah Mitchell was my favorite running back last year in training camp. That title goes to Mason so far this offseason.
Aiyuk was able to haul in only one of four targets.
On one play, Aiyuk ran a comeback route on the left side and was well covered. Trey Lance made a perfect throw low and away from the defender, but Aiyuk dropped it.
The veteran came back later to snag another nice ball from Trey Lance a few plays later. Aiyuk ran a rail route down the left side, and Lance fit the ball between the coverage of the underneath corner and safety.
The “do-everything” veteran defensive back came away with the day’s only interception.
Nate Sudfeld had Tanner Hudson open over the middle; however, Hudson fell as Sudfeld was throwing, and Johnson was in the right place at the right time to come away with the turnover.
That seems to be the story of Johnson’s career.
Ward made the defensive play of the day.
Trey Lance tried to fit the ball in to tight end Tyler Kroft open on a deep seam route down the middle. Ward read the play perfectly and was able to go over the back of Kroft to knock the ball away for a pass break up.
Beautiful play by Ward.
There was a concerted effort to push the ball down the field more than in last week’s practice. Lance responded well, completing 9 of 14 passes on the day.
As mentioned earlier, Lance had the big throw down the left side to Brandon Aiyuk and a deep pass down the middle broken up by Jimmie Ward.
Following the pass breakup, Lance would come back a few plays later and look for Ross Dwelley on the same play down the middle. This time Lance was able to drill the ball in between safeties Talanoa Hufanga and Jimmie Ward for a big completion.
Lance is showing all of the characteristics that prompted the 49ers to use three first-rounders to trade up and get the North Dakota State product. Watch out.
Hasty slipped out of the backfield and beat free agent linebacker Oren Burks, deep down the right sideline. Nate Sudfeld saw it and laid a perfect pass into the running back’s hands.
Leon O’Neal Jr
The undrafted free agent safety had a rough day.
It started with him getting beat over the middle on a throw from Kyle Shanahan to another coach. That continued into the team period of practice when JaMycal Hasty and O’Neal collided, and the rookie ended up on his backside.
There are four primary candidates to replace K’Waun Williams in the slot.
Darqueze Dennard continues to be the leader in this race. Dennard is followed by Samuel Womack, Deommodore Lenoir, and Qwuantrezz Knight. All four took reps at the position during team drills.