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Status Report on the 49ers Rookie Class

Posted Aug 3, 2014

San Francisco's 2014 draft class has made quite the impact in training camp. Here's a progress report on where the rookies stand before the preseason opener.


San Francisco's 2014 draft class has made quite the impact in training camp. Let's share a progress report on where the rookies stand days before the team's preseason opener on Aug. 7 against the Baltimore Ravens.

First-round pick DB Jimmie Ward

The 30th overall section in this year's NFL Draft had one of the best debuts from a rookie I've ever seen. I'd say it was the best. Ward intercepted a tipped Colin Kaepernick pass and looked aggressive as a nickel cornerback and safety for the rest of the opening camp session. Ward's physical style of play has carried over to his recent on-field work. On Sunday, Ward lined up as the first-team nickel cornerback, and he intercepted a Josh Johnson pass. Ward tipped the ball up in the air, tracked it in the air, and made his second interception of camp. In addition to his slot defensive work, Ward has been playing second-team safety and has been working as a gunner during special teams periods.

Second-round pick RB Carlos Hyde

The 57th overall selection was expected to compete for playing time behind Frank Gore. Following two injuries to Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James, Hyde appears to be in position to be Gore's primary backup. Hyde has been given a lot of work this camp. While Gore doesn't need much work to get polished for the regular season, Hyde does need to get acclimated to the pro game. The Ohio State runner comes from a spread offense and will now play in of a traditional power running attack. Hyde has shown excellent running ability in between the tackles and his hands have been solid as well. Hyde has even taken reps at kick-off return and on the punt coverage team.

Third-round pick C Marcus Martin

The 70th overall selection started camp on the Non-Football Injury List. On Sunday, however, Martin made his practice debut. He lined up at times with the second-team offense and did well against nose tackle Mike Purcell in team periods and later in 1-on-1 pass-blocking drills. Martin is a late contender in the team's starting center competition against four-year veteran Daniel Kilgore. Martin appears poised to make a push for playing time in the team's upcoming preseason games.

Third-round pick LB Chris Borland

The 77th overall selection has been mixing in the with second-team defense at inside linebacker. Borland hasn't closed the gap with Michael Wilhoite in the competition to be NaVorro Bowman's Week 1 replacement, but the rookie out of Wisconsin has been making strides throughout camp. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he wanted Borland's to carry out his defensive responsibilities and not follow his instincts as much. Since the comment was made, Borland has worked with the second defense. The rookie linebacker showed his strong cover skills on Sunday by running stride for stride with Vance McDonald on a deep seam route that went incomplete. He also recorded an interception this past week. In addition to his defensive duties, Borland has worked with the punt and kick cover units during special teams work.

Third-round pick G Brandon Thomas

The 100th overall selection is on the team's NFI List and is not expected to play in camp. Thomas suffered a torn ACL while working out for the New Orleans Saints prior to the draft. The Clemson product will learn from 49ers veterans this year and travel with the team on the road.

Fourth-round pick WR Bruce Ellington

The 106th overall selection had a busy day on Sunday. Ellington hauled in a pair of touchdown passes, including a 40-yard bomb from Johnson. Ellington has thrown his hat into the punt and kick return competition as well. Ellington entered camp on the Physically Unable to Perform List, but he's since been activated to join practice and he's been a consistent play-maker on offense. Ellington will be a player to watch in the second half of preseason games, both on offense and special teams.

Fourth-round pick CB Dontae Johnson

The 129th overall selection has been ascending throughout camp. Every single practice, No. 36 will record a pass breakup. His most recent interception ended Friday night's camp session to the delight of his veteran teammates. Johnson has lined up at left cornerback with the second-team defense. He's also been a thorn in the side of many veteran receivers. Johnson has not backed down from the challenge of facing experienced receivers like Anquan Boldin.

Fifth-round pick LB Aaron Lynch

The 150th overall selection made his practice debut on Sunday. Lynch was activated off the PUP List last week, but he had a steady buildup to his first practice. Lynch played both right and left outside linebacker in team periods. He broke up a wheel route 30 yards down the field and knocked back tight end Vance McDonald in 1-on-1 blocking drills.

Fifth-round pick CB Keith Reaser

The 170th overall selection is on the team's NFI List and will likely be there throughout camp. Reaser underwent two offseason surgeries to repair a torn ACL. Reaser will likely be given a redshirt year, much like Marcus Lattimore and Tank Carradine experienced in 2013.

Fifth-round pick CB Kenneth Acker

The 180th overall selection has been steady throughout camp. Acker received a few second-team reps at right cornerback on Sunday. He hasn't recorded an interception in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 periods, but he has looked confident as he competes against a deep group of receivers in 1-on-1 drills. Acker gave up a deep ball to Boldin on Sunday, but rebounded on the next play to defend another deep throw down the right sideline.

Seventh-round pick DT Kaleb Ramsey

The 243rd overall selection has been on the PUP List all camp with an undisclosed injury. Ramsey has been watching practices after finishing his rehab work with the strength and conditioning coaches.

Seventh-round pick FB Trey Millard

The 245th overall selection has remained on the NFI List along with Thomas and Reaser throughout camp. All three rookies are in the same boat; they're all coming off major knee injuries. It's worth nothing that Millard has been working out on the adjacent turf field during camp sessions.

Undrafted rookies

Shayne Skov has made the most of his Stanford connection to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. Skov has good knowledge of the defense and has impressed fellow inside linebacker Patrick Willis... Tight ends Kevin Greene and Asante Cleveland both caught touchdown passes on Thursday. Cleveland caught another 25-yard pass on Sunday... Dillon Farrell was lining up at second-team center, prior to the return of Martin, the third-round pick... Safety James McCray has worked with the third-team defense... The 49ers claimed tackle Michael Phillipp last week and also claimed wide receiver L'Damian Washington on Sunday. We'll know more about both players once they've had a full week to get acclimated to a new system.