NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah joined Wednesday's edition of "49ers Live" and had plenty of good things to say about a number of players on the San Francisco 49ers roster.
Here are the six biggest takeaways from the phone interview.
- An up-tempo offense helps Colin Kaepernick
So much attention has been paid to offensive coordinator Geep Chryst's new offense. And for good reason. The scheme isn't a completely new language to the players, but a refined one. There's less verbiage in the huddle, which gives Kaepernick more time to diagnose a defense at the line of scrimmage. Just because they can go up-tempo, however, doesn't mean the 49ers have to. Being at the line of scrimmage early in the play clock allows them to dictate the pace of the game, as fast or as slow as they choose.
Jeremiah: "I think it's huge for him (Kaepernick). It puts him squarely in his comfort zone with what he did coming out of college. With these tempo offenses, especially when you have a quarterback that can move, those 2- and 3-yard runs that you see … can turn into some big runs when you wear people down at the end of games. That's where I think it can really benefit somebody like Colin Kaepernick, who is big enough and strong enough to be able to handle some of that punishment in the first couple of quarters. I think in the first couple quarters (of games) this team can wear some teams down, and you'll see them be able to take advantage of it when you get into the fourth quarter of football games."
- Torrey Smith has evolved into a complete receiver
The evolution of Smith has been fascinating over the four years he's been in the NFL. The former Maryland star has turned himself into a reliable receiver in all situations, and Jeremiah thinks he was the perfect addition to the 49ers offense.
Jeremiah: "I like what Torrey brings to the table. You saw him in Baltimore early on in his career as purely a deep threat, someone who could stretch people out and take the top off of a defense. Then you saw him continue to grow and evolve and to be able to run everything in the route tree and be a complete receiver. When you put him in the mix with (Anquan) Boldin, they compliment each other really well."
- Bruce Ellington could be a breakout candidate in 2015
49ers fans know what Ellington is capable when given the opportunity. It turns out that media types around the league are starting to learn as well. Jeremiah said one game of Ellington's games in particular stood out for him. The biggest thing right now is for Ellington to get healthy and showcase his potential in training camp.
Jeremiah: "Talking to some buddies in pro departments, I asked them for some names of guys they thought would kind of be breakout candidates. Bruce Ellington's name came up from a pro director. He said 'I know he didn't have any numbers last year, but just watch him against Denver and tell me what you think.' Then I watched and his speed jumps off the tape. I think he's somebody 49ers fans can be excited about."
- DeAndre Smelter plays similar to Boldin
Smelter might be the only player who isn't participating when training camp opens late July. The 49ers fourth-round pick is still recovering from an ACL tear, but Jeremiah said he's an intriguing prospect that fans should be excited about. The NFL Network analyst even went as far as to throw out a lofty comparison for the 6-foot-2 Smelter.
Jeremiah:"I just love him. When you watch him on tape early in the year last year, he's competitive and just tough, physical after the catch. It's ironic because you see a little bit of Anquan Boldin in him. Anquan plays the game very angry which is a positive. He attacks the football, is tough after the catch and hard to bring down. They don't throw the ball a lot at Georgia Tech, but when he got his opportunities, he created a lot on his own. That toughness and playmaking ability will show out when he makes his recovery."
- Jaquiski Tartt has rare versatility
Nearly the entire interview focused on the offensive side of the football, but Jeremiah was sure to mention two defensive rookies that could make an impact for the 49ers in 2015. Tartt was very impressive in OTAs and minicamp, showing the speed and instincts needed at the safety position. Jeremiah said that when the pads come on in training camp, San Francisco's 2014 second-round pick in 2015 will be able to do what he does best.
Jeremiah: "Tartt was one of the more physical safeties in the entire draft class. You can put him down in the box. He can thump. He's also athletic enough that if you want to play him at the high safety you can do that. I think he gives you that Donte Whitner kind of presence when you roll him up. That's when he's at his best."
- Eli Harold is a "very, very explosive athlete"
We've mentioned this before, but there were many who thought Harold had the physical ability to go in the first-round of the 2015 NFL Draft. That makes him a ridiculous value in the third-round. Just being around Harold, you can feel the chip on his shoulder over the perceived snub. That should work in the 49ers favor this season and beyond. Jeremiah compared the outside linebacker to another pass-rushing prospect who was selected on Day 1 of the draft.
Jeremiah:"Man I tell you, I watched him back-to-back with Bud Dupree, who went in the first round to the (Pittsburgh) Steelers (22nd overall), and I didn't see a whole lot of difference between the two of them. They're both very explosive and tested through the roof. There's some rawness to him, but you have a lot to work with there. Again, just a very, very explosive athlete you can drop in coverage and do a lot of things with. That was a heck of a pick where they got him value wise."
You can follow Jeremiah on Twitter @movethesticks. Catch his "Move the Sticks" podcast every week on iTunes and NFL.com.