After careful consideration and review of all three days of the recent mandatory veteran minicamp, 49ers.com has put together a list of five standout performers.
The San Francisco 49ers clearly made good use of the time inside of Levi's® Stadium. Players and coaches raved about the cohesion in three fast-paced practices that saw impressive moments turned in by both sides of the ball.
The team appears to be healthy going into training camp, plus there should be a lot of confidence gained from what we saw on the field.
Here are the five players who deserve added applause for the way they performed at minicamp.
1. Torrey Smith
The team's new downfield weapon has indeed added a new dimension to San Francisco's pass game. With Smith in the fold, the 49ers were able to attack all levels of the defense. Smith's home-run ability was most evident when he hooked up with Colin Kaepernick on a 40-yard jump ball down the left side line at the expense of second-year cornerback Dontae Johnson. Kaepernick and Smith routinely connected in the minicamp, but on the final day, the deep throw showcased the budding chemistry between the two. Johnson had great coverage on the play, but Kaepernick was able to put the ball up with enough loft for the fifth-year veteran receiver to go up and get the ball. Smith caught slants and intermediate routes for most of the camp, but it's hard not to overlook his ability to stretch the defense and compete for the football at its highest point. Smith's speed and leaping ability was on display throughout the camp. The 49ers will surely tap into those talents come training camp.
2. NaVorro Bowman
The defense is at a disadvantage in contact-free practice sessions. But it seemed like nobody told that to the team's defensive quarterback. Bowman didn't hit anybody, but he was in position to smother the running backs on nearly every run play. Bowman hasn't played in a game since January of 2014. Even so, the stud linebacker's instincts appear to be as sharp as ever. When the 49ers worked on goal-line run plays, Bowman was in the hole waiting for the ball-carrier. Bowman's left knee brace was only utilized during team drills. The sixth-year pro ditched the brace for individual warmup drills. It's not known if Bowman will continue with the brace throughout training camp. But one thing is for sure, Bowman's three-day camp showed everyone that he's continuing to progress this offseason.
- Colin Kaepernick**The first player on this list was able to get the top spot because of the third player on this rundown. Kaepernick was mostly on point throughout the minicamp. Sure, at times there were a few passes he'd like to have back. Kaepernick was intercepted twice in three days: Michael Wilhoite caught a deflected slant pattern; Jaquiski Tartt victimized Kaepernick on an end-zone pass to close out a situational two-minute drill. Other than those two passes, Kaepernick was decisively accurate with the football. Perhaps the most striking observation of the 49ers signal-caller was his accuracy on the move. One of the hardest throws to make is a rollout throw to the left for a right-handed quarterback. But not for Kaepernick. San Francisco's fifth-year quarterback is able to complete nearly every one of his rollout throws. Kaepernick used the three-day period to continue his chemistry with Smith as well as other prime targets like Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin. Kaepernick even built a strong rapport with a newcomer to the team. More on that below.
4. DeAndrew White
The more we see from the undrafted wideout from Alabama, the more we're impressed. That goes for reporters, teammates and coaches, who all observed the 6-foot receiver be the most targeted wideout in camp. While working mostly with second- and third-team quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Dylan Thompson, White snatched every pass thrown his way. We did not see a single drop from White in minicamp. Considering the amount of passes that went his way, not dropping one was very noticeable. Moreover, the rookie receiver turned in the most eye-catching moment of camp on the final day. In a hurry-up, red-zone period, White ran down the left side of the field to haul in a touchdown pass from Gabbert. The rookie had no time to celebrate though. Once he landed in the end zone with the Ball, White had to get back on the ball to run another play. Making matters even more challenging was that White had to motion across to the right side of the formation and line up wide on the boundary. Once he was ready for the snap, White ran a skinny post and was targeted again in the back of the end zone. Spoiler alert: White caught the ball with ease and tapped both feet inbounds to complete the back-to-back touchdown sequence. White must have been out of breath catching both of those throws, because I am out of breath just trying to type up the recap.
- Glenn Dorsey**
The fifth spot on this list goes to a player who lined up in a fairly new position for minicamp. With Ian Williams performing well as the team's nose tackle, Dorsey, a former starter at the position, moved over to defensive tackle in Eric Mangini's 3-4 defensive scheme. Dorsey looked solid in his new role, sandwiching Williams on the line with Quinton Dial as the other first-team defensive tackle. Dorsey looked very much like a five-technique who can occupy multiple blockers and still be effective in space. What was most notable about Dorsey and the rest of the starting defensive linemen was their ability to knock down passes at the line of scrimmage. All three starters and fourth-year pro Tony Jerod-Eddie were able to swat passes away and disrupt the passing attack's timing. Dorsey wasn't able to participate for most of the Organized Team Activities, but to see his progress in minicamp, the 49ers should feel good about their depth in the defensive trenches. Keep in mind, we haven't seen veteran Darnell Dockett and first-round draft pick Arik Armstead on the field. The defensive line competition could be one of the best in training camp.