19 Observations from Day 3 of 49ers Minicamp

The San Francisco 49ers concluded their three-day mandatory minicamp Thursday morning. Here are your daily notes and nuggets that stood out from practice.

1. Tight end Xavier Grimble made his return to the practice field, making several catches throughout the session. On one crossing route over the middle, Grimble made a diving catch on a throw from Blaine Gabbert.

2. Thursday's starting offensive line: Joe Staley (LT), Alex Boone (LG), Marcus Martin (C), Joe Looney (RG) and Erik Pears (RT). The big note here is that Boone worked with the starting group. Andrew Tiller had been going with the first-team at left guard for the first two days of practice.

3. Thursday's starting cornerbacks: Dontae Johnson and Marcus Cromartie. The defense also ran plenty of nickel, with Tramaine Brock and Keith Reaser splitting time as the nickel corner covering the slot receiver. This was the first action Brock has seen after sitting out the first two days of minicamp.

4. Tight end Asante Cleveland made an impressive catch in the initial team period. Gabbert threw the ball just behind Cleveland in the middle of the field, but the tight end made a nice adjustment on the ball to make the grab.

5. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman continues to be all over the place, and is seemingly in the backfield on every play. He ruined a number of running plays and registered a would-be sack of Colin Kaepernick. Bowman also showed off his coverage skills in the red zone, keeping up with tight end Blake Bell step-for-step.

6. Cornerback Mylan Hicks registered the only interception of the day. He picked off an arrant Dylan Tompson pass that was thrown over the head of Bell.

7. Safety Eric Reid had a few pass breakups on the day. That includes a dropped interception in the end zone during the goal-line period. Reid read Gabbert's eyes and jumped a play-action pass intended for tight end Vernon Davis.

8. Kaepernick and the first-team offense didn't participate in the first goal-line period as the defense dominated.

9. The 49ers worked on several situational drills Thursday. That included using the play clock and game clock for the second consecutive day. The offense changed their tempo a few times, but when they went fast, it was very obvious. There was rarely any time spent in the huddle and the ball was always snapped with at least 23 seconds remaining on the play clock.

10. For the first time in minicamp, the 49ers enforced penalties during team drills. Each side was called for one, a false start on the offense and an offsides on the defense.

11. Wide receiver Quinton Patton made a flashy catch. Kaepernick sent a fastball over the middle on a third-down play with Patton making the full extension grab to move the chains.

12. The play of the day came on a 35-yard deep ball from Kaepernick to Torrey Smith down the left sideline. Johnson had blanket coverage on Smith, but Kap placed the ball perfectly over his receiver's shoulder for the long completion. 49ers fans would like to sign up for that all season long.

13. All the 49ers running backs and full backs continued to get plenty of work catching the ball out of the backfield. Rookie Mike Davis impressed on Thursday, catching multiple passes including an out and up where he beat linebacker Philip Wheeler for a long touchdown from Thompson.

14. The situational drills continued with clock management at the end of the half. It was a mixture of hurry-up offense with no timeouts and bleeding the clock by taking a knee. Each situation ended in a field goal attempt. After a rough start of missing his first three field-goal attempts, kicker Phil Dawson responded by knocking down his final four field-goal tries.

15. In a red-zone period between the first-team offense and the first-team defense, Bowman's crew got the upper hand. Kaepernick didn't have any open receivers and was forced to throw the ball away on multiple occasions.

16. Undrafted rookie wideout DeAndrew White more than made up for the offensive struggles, igniting the second-team with back-to-back touchdowns from Gabbert. The first came on a simple streak up the left sideline, but the second was the head-turner. White ran a post to the middle of the end zone and made a leaping catch on a perfectly thrown ball from Gabbert. What's more, White had the wherewithal to tap both feet in bounds before his momentum took him out of the end zone. White has been a total stud since he arrived at the SAP Performance Facility.

17. The final touchdown came from Dylan Thompson to rookie receiver Issac Blakeney. Thompson was rolling right and found Blakeney on the right edge of the end zone, keeping his feet in bounds for the score. 

18. Kaepernick finished minicamp with a very strong performance to close out a successful offseason program. The 49ers signal-caller completed 11 of his 16 passing attempts in 11-on-11 drills. That includes two drops by his receivers. In 7-on-7, Kap went 5-of-7 passing. He didn't throw a single interception on the day. Big shoutout to Tyler Emerick for charting those throws.

19. That's a wrap. The 49ers rookies will still be around for another week or two, but the veterans are now off until they report for training camp in late July.

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