The San Francisco 49ers held their three-day rookie minicamp over the weekend where the first-year players got their first taste of an NFL practice.
This year's rookie class also spoke to the media in regards to the beginning of their tenure with the 49ers. Here are some of the top soundbites from the weekend.
1. WR Dante Pettis on his versatility on offense and special teams.
San Francisco moved up 15 spots in the draft to add another weapon in the passing attack. Kyle Shanahan referred to him as “the full package,” who can be of value on all four downs. Pettis expects to be used like a chess piece in San Francisco.
“That’s why (Shanahan) liked me so much was because he knows I can move around," Pettis said. "I didn’t really have a problem with it. That was one of the things (Shanahan) mentioned that he would like to move me around and see what I can do.”
2. LB Fred Warner on his niche as a hybrid linebacker.
Standing 6-foot-3, 226 pounds, Warner finds himself among the recent trend of “new-age” hybrid linebackers who have speed and can excel in pass coverage. Warner acknowledged Atlanta Falcons’ Deion Jones (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) and Jacksonville Jaguars’ Telvin Smith (6-foot-3, 218 pounds) as two players with similar builds and skill sets. During his pre-draft visit, the 49ers were interested in slotting Warner at MIKE. He saw reps at both inside linebacker spots during rookie minicamp.
“(The 49ers) talked to me how they like my size. They just talked about what I did well at BYU and how it fits into their scheme,” Warner said. “This is a passing league now. Teams are passing the ball about 65% of the game. You’ve got to have linebackers that can move and cover right now. That's kind of why I feel like I fit perfect in what we’re doing.”
3. DB Tarvarius Moore on moving from safety to cornerback.
Despite having a big year at Southern Miss in 2017, Moore was an overlooked prospect in the pre-draft process. That was until he ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at his pro day that launched his draft stock. The 49ers will try the former college safety at cornerback this offseason.
“I’m just coming in doing whatever they need me to do. Whatever position it is they need me at. If they want to try me at corner, I definitely have no problem playing corner,” Moore said. “A lot of teams showed interest in me playing corner as well for the same reasons — long arms, fast, good feet, good hips. I definitely felt like that was a position I was going to have to learn or transition to either way it went.”
4. S Marcell Harris on returning from injury.
Coming off of a breakout season in 2016 with 73 total tackles, two interceptions and a sack, a torn Achilles tendon during Florida’s fall camp sidelined Harris in 2017. He didn't take part in rookie minicamp, but he should be back by the start of training camp at the latest.
“It’s definitely a hard process to go through, just because I want to be out there and compete at a high level,” Harris said. “My plan is to get on the field as fast as possible. (I’m) following doctor’s orders and everything that the 49ers have planned for me."
5. WR Richie James Jr. on being a late-round pick.
The 49ers seventh-round pick was one of the standouts of rookie minicamp. James’ size and health concerns caused him to fall in the draft. He’s coming off of a season-ending collar bone fracture in 2017 but is back to full strength. James caught several passes during full-team drills as well as 7-on-7 work.
“I’m really surprised I went that late,” James said. “But at the same time, that’s part of it. I got injured last year. I understood there was a lot of red flags and teams didn’t want to take a chance."
6. CB Tarvarus McFadden on going undrafted.
A 4.67 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine plummeted McFadden's draft stock. Still, he signed as a priority free agent with the 49ers and his 6-foot-2 frame makes him an ideal fit in Robert Saleh's defense. McFadden is eager to prove that his game can translate to the NFL despite the slow 40 time.
“(There are) a lot of corners in the NFL who don’t run 4.3’s. (There aren't) not too many people who actually run 4.3 these days. I ran what I ran, and people think what they think. But I know what I can do and I just hope to show everybody."