The 49ers just opened their OTAs to the media for the first time this offseason. Here's who stood out.
Keep in mind, the players did not wear pads, nor do one-on-one drills. Instead, they did positional drills, seven-on-sevens and 11-on-11s for roughly an hour and 15 minutes. A light practice.
1. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Looked healthy for the first time in ages. Didn't wear a brace on his surgically repaired left knee. And his right ankle which held him out of 10 games last season seemed fine. Garoppolo completed 11 of 15 passes and didn't throw any interceptions -- he looked like a veteran who's entering his fourth offseason with the 49ers, which is what he is. Good to see him perform as he should.
2. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.
Led the team with four catches during team drills and also returned kickoffs during special teams drills, which is great news because Aiyuk should be the returner.
3. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel.
Caught three passes during team drills and also returned kickoffs with Aiyuk. It's great to know head coach Kyle Shanahan read my articles and took my suggestion to play his best players on special teams. Smart man. More on Shanahan below.
4. Wide receiver Jauan Jennings.
Beat starting nickelback K'Waun Williams down the seam for a 25-yard catch during seven-on-sevens. Garoppolo threw the pass. Jennings looks like he's in much better shape than he was a year ago as a rookie. He looks stronger and faster. Maybe he will be the slot receiver who replaces Kendrick Bourne.
5. Tight end Ross Dwelley.
Caught one pass from Garoppolo, but that's not the story. The thing to know about Dwelley is that he looks much stronger than last season. He looks buff. I'm guessing he put on five to 10 pounds of muscle.
6. Running back Trey Sermon.
Had the longest run of the day. It was an outside zone run to his right. Sermon burst through the line and then cut back all the way across the field to gain 30 yards. His acceleration and balance are eye-popping.
7. Safety Jimmie Ward.
Played both safety spots and nickel as well, which is par for the course for Ward. He looks healthy and in terrific shape.
8. Safety Tarvarius Moore.
Started alongside Ward because Jaquiski Tartt chose not to practice (more on Tartt below). Moore also took reps at nickel, which he did last year, too. He looks like he's in terrific shape. But can he tackle? We'll find out in the preseason.
9. Cornerback Jason Verrett.
I feel like I've never seen Verrett healthy in May. But he seems perfectly healthy now, and strong, too. His thighs are massive. It's hard to tell he ever battled injuries. Amazing.
10. Head coach Kyle Shanahan.
He made Trey Lance do Trey-Lance-specific things for the first time in front of the media this offseason. I'm not allowed to say what those Trey-Lance-specific things were -- house rules, plus I wouldn't want to reveal the 49ers secrets -- but it's good to see Shanahan coaching Lance the right way.
THE NOT SO GOOD
1. Quarterback Trey Lance.
Completed 10 of 15 passes, which is terrific, but he threw an interception and should have thrown two. Both passes were high and over the middle. The first one tipped off the hands of tight end Josh Pederson and landed in the hands of safety Tavon Wilson. The second high miss sailed way over Travis Benjamin's head and was dropped by Jared Mayden. When Lance misses, he tends to miss high, which could mean he's over-striding when he throws downfield. Remember, downfield accuracy was his biggest question mark coming out of college. He'll have to work hard on his throwing mechanics from the pocket, because high misses over the middle become interceptions in the NFL.
2. Quarterback Josh Rosen.
Got exactly zero reps in seven-on-sevens and 11-on-11s, along with Josh Johnson and Nate Sudfeld, who were mere observers, like me. Not sure what they're doing here.
3. Cornerback Ambry Thomas.
Broke up a pass intended for Austin Watkins, but everyone does that (more on Watkins below). When Thomas faced Travis Benjamin, Thomas got beat by a quick whip route. Eager to see what Thomas does when the one-on-one drills begin.
4. Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir.
Gave up a long catch over the middle to Deebo Samuel who was running an over route. Lenoir isn't particular big, fast or explosive, which is a problem for an NFL cornerback.
5. Wide receiver Austin Watkins.
Doesn't get open. Doesn't beat anyone. Seems like the guy who will make all the defensive backs look good. It's early, though. Maybe he'll improve.
6. Wide receiver Jalen Hurd.
Didn't participate. Still rehabbing.
7. Defensive end Nick Bosa.
Didn't show up. Still rehabbing.
8. Defensive end Dee Ford.
Didn't participate. Still rehabbing.
9. Safety Jaquiski Tartt.
Didn't participate. Not sure why. UPDATE: Tartt is still rehabbing his toe.
10. Running back Jeff Wilson Jr.
Didn't show up. Not sure why.
UPDATE: Wilson tore his meniscus. More information coming soon.