SANTA CLARA – Here’s who stood out to me at the 49ers rookie mini camp.
1. WR Richie James. You could tell right away last year during rookie minicamp that Trent Taylor and Kendrick Bourne would make the team. They made rookie mini camp seem easy. And that’s what Richie James did today. None of the 49ers corners could cover him. He got open at will. And he was fearless catching passes over the middle, unlike Dante Pettis. More on him below.
2. CB Tarvarus McFadden. McFadden was by far the most aggressive cornerback in bump-and-run coverage. On one play, he jammed wide receiver Javon Williams five yards into the backfield. McFadden was the starting left cornerback for the first-team defense during team drills. He seems to have a solid chance to make the team.
3. WR Steven Dunbar. Made every catch he could, including a few contested catches. Didn’t create much separation, though.
4. CB/FS D.J. Reed. Started at free safety during team drills. Diagnosed a run play quickly and exploded toward the running back to make the stop. Defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley gave Reed a big thumbs up.
5. PR Dante Pettis. Pettis is a natural punt returner. He tracks punts effortlessly, even in a strong wind. He dropped zero today.
THE NOT SO GOOD
1. WR Dante Pettis. Pettis is not a natural receiver, but he has talent. He’s shifty and can beat press coverage. McFadden tried to jam him once and whiffed entirely. Pettis can get open, unlike A.J. Jenkins. But, Pettis doesn’t seem tough over the middle. Twice, he casually waved with one hand at a pass over the middle instead of jumping and attacking the ball with both hands, as James did more than once. Pettis seemed scared of getting decked by a safety.
2. CB Tarvarius Moore. The 49ers third-round did not participate in one-on-one drills or team drills. I wonder if the team thinks he’s not ready to play cornerback in front of the media. Moore was a free safety in college and hasn’t played corner since his junior year of high school.