The 49ers just held their second OTA practice in front of the media this afternoon. Here's who stood out.
NOTE: The 49ers practiced a cool 70 yards away from the media. I watched through binoculars, but there were players standing in the way most of the time. So I know who threw the balls and who caught them, but not who was in was in coverage most of the time -- just as the 49ers wanted it. Sorry.
1. Quarterback Trey Lance.
Improved tremendously from last week. Completed 11 of 18 passes (61 percent), and two were dropped. Also completed 6 of 7 pass attempts during 7-on-7 drills, which is the most challenging setting for Lance, because he can't scramble or roll out. During this drill, he fired a 40-yard deep completion up the right sideline to George Kittle. It was a perfect pass, one Jimmy Garoppolo wouldn't even attempt. Lance also threw a beautiful pass to Kittle while rolling left and fading away from a pass rusher in his face. Lance seems like a quick learner, although he still sails the occasional pass. He's going to be terrific.
2. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Didn't get to work much -- the practice was all about Lance. Garoppolo completed all six of his pass attempts, but none traveled more than 20 yards downfield. He's the same quarterback he always has been.
3. Quarterback Josh Rosen.
Finally got to throw a couple passes in a competitive setting in front of the media, and they were glorious. The first pass was a 15-yard rocket over the middle to Mohamed Sanu, who caught it. The second pass was a 25-yard deep throw up the seam to Charlie Woerner, who ran the wrong route -- he broke toward the corner of the end zone. Tight ends coach John Embree ran up to Woerner after the play and corrected him. How dare he make Rosen look bad!
4. Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu.
Led all players with five catches during scrimmages. Sanu is only 31 years old, and seems motivated to win the No. 3 receiver job, because it's wide open. And as of now, he seems like the favorite to win it. His only healthy competition is Jauan Jennings, who spent last year on the practice squad.
5. Wide receiver Jauan Jennings.
Beat starting nickelback K'Waun Williams with a 12-yard out from the slot during 11-on-11s, and later caught a 15-yard pass over the middle from Lance during 7-on-7s. If Jennings stays healthy, he will make the team and contribute.
6. Running back Trey Sermon.
Started at running back because Raheem Mostert is out with an injury (more on him below). It's clear the 49ers are preparing Sermon for a big workload in 2021, and he seems ready.
7. Running back JaMycal Hasty.
Split time with rookie Elijah Mitchell as the No. 2 running back. Hasty looks bigger and stronger than he did last year when he was a rookie. The 49ers probably hope they can stash him on the practice squad, but he might not clear waivers.
8. Safety Talanoa Hufanga.
Intercepted a well-thrown pass from Lance during 11-on-11s. Lance hit wide receiver Trent Sherfield in the hands near the sideline, but Hufanga snatched the ball out of Sherfield's hands before he fell out of bounds. Incredible play. Hufanga finds interesting ways to make an impact.
9. Defensive tackle Zach Kerr.
Reached up and knocked down a pass from Lance during 11-on-11s.
THE NOT SO GOOD
1. Quarterback Kyle Shanahan.
Threw roughly six passes during a warmup drill for the defense just before 11-on-11s started. Shanahan completed zero of these passes and got picked once. He did a good job of moving his head so he didn't telegraph his passes -- his attention to detail is evident. But when the ball leaves his hand, he's just as likely to hit a spectator in the face as he is to hit his target in the hands. He should never be allowed to throw a ball in front of people again. He could hurt someone.
2. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.
Missed practice with a groin strain. Aiyuk is a promising young player, but he's injury prone like so many of the 49ers. He pulled his hamstring last year during training camp, then missed four games during the regular season. He also had core muscle surgery after college. His health will be a constant issue.
3. Wide receiver Richie James Jr.
Missed practice with a mild hamstring injury. This guy can never seize his opportunity when it presents itself.
4. Wide receiver Travis Benjamin.
Missed practice with a mild calf strain. Not good for a wide receiver who will turn 32 this season.
5. Running back Raheem Mostert.
Missed practice with a mild knee injury. Bad sign for Mostert who has had knee injuries in the past.
6. Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst.
Missed practice with a shoulder injury. Seems like a long shot to make the team.