The San Francisco 49ers continued a three-day mandatory veteran minicamp on Wednesday. Here are the key observations made from the second session.
1. Takeaway Day
Ahmad Brooks, Perrish Cox and Eric Reid recorded interceptions in a solid outing for the 49ers defense.
Brooks recorded the first takeaway when he correctly read Colin Kaepernick's quick pass to Jewel Hampton out of the backfield. The 49ers quarterback tried to look off Brooks, but when Kaepernick turned his head and fired the ball to his right, Brooks was able to jump in front of the passing lane and make the reception.
Cox stepped in front of a Josh Johnson pass during a 7-on-7 red zone period. The veteran cornerback had room to run down the sideline after reaching up to make the interception.
Lastly, Reid's standout play came at the expense of quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson who was trying to find wide receiver Quinton Patton on a short crossing route. The Pro Bowl safety broke on the ball immediately and made an interception that would have been a 60-yard touchdown return if it was a real game situation.
Elsewhere on defense, starting strong safety Antoine Bethea blitzed off the slot and batted down a Kaepernick pass in the final move-the-ball team period of the day.
2. New QB Drill
Target practice took place during the quarterback's individual drills. The 49ers used a throwing net 20 yards down the field to simulate where a receiver would be on a deep route. All five quarterbacks on the roster took turns trying to throw the football into the net. Kaepernick was able to drill a few throws. At one point, Kaepernick and veteran Blaine Gabbert both had back-to-back throws bounce off the rim of the target.
Quarterback guru, turned 49ers coaching intern George Whitfield, continued to work with the team's signal-callers in a variety of ways. On this day, Whitfield worked with Kaepernick and others on quick passes, some with side-arm delivery.
3. The Cowboy Spotted
Jim Harbaugh said Pro Bowl defensive tackle Justin Smith is "working through something" and that he'd be ready for training camp. Smith didn't practice on Wednesday as he has not been medically cleared to join the team, but he did watch the majority of the workout after doing rehab work with Ray McDonald and Ian Williams.
4. O-line Shuffle
With Alex Boone and Anthony Davis not practicing at minicamp, the 49ers have been able to shuffle the first-team offensive line in a variety of ways. Jonathan Martin and Joe Looney have taken most of the snaps at right tackle and right guard, respectively. However, that wasn't the case during one play during an 11-on-11 red zone period. The team's likely starting center Daniel Kilgore lined up at right tackle, Looney at right guard, and veteran lineman Adam Snyder lined up at center.
The 49ers typically use the offseason workouts to shuffle offensive linemen to different spots for "in case of emergency" experience. For this minicamp practice moment, it was unique to see Kilgore play tackle, his college position at Appalachian State.
5. Rookie Impact
The more Carlos Hyde and Bruce Ellington, the more the rookies show themselves to be capable pass-catchers. The second- and fourth-round draft picks are hauling in passes on the regular. Hyde, the do-it-all running back out of Ohio State, caught a swing route out of the backfield and turned it into a 20-yard touchdown catch in a red zone team period.
When the 49ers second-team offense looked to drive the ball down the field against the second-team defense, Gabbert connected with Ellington on a couple of occasions.
Both rookies made several catches on day 1 of minicamp as well. As far as rookies are concerned, Hyde and Ellington are in a tight race for best rookie at minicamp honors.
With four receivers not involved in team drills, Lloyd seemed to be a busy man. The same could be said for Anquan Boldin. Both veteran receivers were heavily involved with the passing game. They lined up with the first-team offense throughout the day.
Boldin also recorded a touchdown, beating Morris to haul in a red zone touchdown pass thrown by Bethel-Thompson.