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Jim Harbaugh Impressed by Rookies at 49ers OTAs

Posted May 29, 2014

Many members of San Francisco's NFL Draft class, including wideout Bruce Ellington, have already stood out during the team's offseason program.

Aaron Lynch is the perfect example to explain Jim Harbaugh’s take on rookies.

You see Lynch’s long arms and his 6-foot-5, 249-pound frame line up across from San Francisco 49ers offensive linemen, and it’s hard not to think about his potential.

The fifth-round NFL Draft pick bears a resemblance to All-Pro outside linebacker Aldon Smith, doesn’t he, coach? 

“They look similar when they stand next to each other, but we don’t put those type of expectations on a young player,” Harbaugh said after Wednesday’s OTA session. “He’s learning his role, learning the system and making mistakes and correcting them. But he’s been doing a real good job. Very pleased with the way he’s studied, the way he’s practiced, and how he’s coming along, yeah.”

The same could be said for many other first-year 49ers. Inside linebacker Chris Borland (third round) is taking reps after Patrick Willis here, and center Marcus Martin (third) is backing up Daniel Kilgore there. On Wednesday, we also saw wideout Bruce Ellington (fourth) catching passes and Dontae Johnson (fourth) knocking them down.

Chief among the team’s 12 draft selections overall, defensive back Jimmie Ward (first round, foot) has yet to full participate. Offensive guard Brandon Thomas (third, knee), cornerback Keith Reaser (fifth, knee) and fullback Trey Millard (seventh, knee) are rehabbing more serious injuries, while running back Carlos Hyde (second) missed Wednesday’s session to attend an NFL event for rookies.

Obviously, the more time each gets on the practice field, the more equipped they’ll be when training camp rolls around in July.

Asked about the adjustments that 49ers first-year pros face on the field, Harbaugh narrowed it down to one.

“It’s learning new words for some of the similar plays or adjustments or techniques that they had done before,” the coach said. “So it’s the terminology.”

Most members of the rookie class were already learning the ropes at “Football School” as well as the team’s minicamp weekend earlier this month.

“This is really their third week being involved with the team and the veterans,” Harbaugh said. “They’ve come a long way in a short period of time, and they’re acclimating well.”


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