Jerome Simpson Gives 49ers Another Vertical Threat

The second week of Organized Team Activities for the San Francisco 49ers featured a pair of impressive downfield grabs from free-agent addition Jerome Simpson.

Simpson, who was out of football in 2014, is one of many vertical threats currently being featured in San Francisco's passing attack under the team's new offensive coordinator Geep Chryst.

The presence of Torrey Smith and Simpson has instantly enhanced the team's passing identity. Both players have career reception averages of 16.9 and 13.8 yards, respectively.

Pro Bowl safety Antoine Bethea recently noted how the wideout's downfield patterns have been a positive development.

"Having those guys on the outside, Torrey Smith, Jerome Simpson, Quinton Patton - they're going to stretch the defense," Bethea said. "That'll give Vernon (Davis) ample opportunities to make plays. That'll allow guys like Reggie Bush to be able to hit those holes.

"It's going to pay dividends for our offense to have those guys outside wide stretching the defense. Just having those weapons out there is going to help (Colin Kaepernick) a lot, too."

Kaepernick showcased his connection with Simpson during 11-on-11 work last week.

On the very first play of a mid-field team period, the 49ers signal-caller launched a 15-yard pass to Simpson who slipped in front of Bethea to make the reception. After the 6-foot-2, 190-pound receiver made the grab, he proceeded to do a forward roll and then quickly popped up to run up the field for more yards.

"We caught the defense in a coverage that they were vulnerable in," Simpson said of the play. "Kap put it in the zone where I could catch it and make a play on it. I had to do a tuck and roll and because I didn't get touched, I got up and tried to score which you have to do on every play."

Simpson has made a habit of making splashy plays on the field. If you haven't searched "Jerome Simpson Flip Touchdown," do that now.

Many of Simpson's 145 career receptions have been impressive displays of athleticism. But after Simpson ran into off-the-field issues, he was out of football last season. The 49ers did their homework on Simpson and signed him to a one-year contract at the start of free agency.

"Like any player we bring in, we do our due diligence," general manager Trent Baalke said back in March. "We really look into the situation. I think you remember a few years back, we brought a player in, Perrish Cox, it worked out well."

View the top photos of all the new San Francisco 49ers players from the team's offseason workouts.

Simpson said he values OTAs a lot more after being away from the game.

"Having a year off will really make you appreciate this time that we have here," the 29-year-old said. "Being able to get back in it, have fun, and be around the guys – that's a lot of fun."

Catching 60-yard touchdown passes is also a good way to enjoy your time.

Simpson hooked up with Kaepernick for an even deeper passing play as one of the top highlights of the second week of OTAs.

"It's always good to catch a ball like that, especially deep because that's what they brought me here for," Simpson said.

For the rest of the offseason, Simpson has set his focus on building chemistry with his new quarterback and coordinator.

Simpson said he's enjoyed getting to work with both men.

"It's fun because the offense gives us a chance to make plays," the receiver said. "We have a great offensive coordinator here and a great quarterback. He definitely can make something out of nothing.

"You have to finish your routes and stay on the move. Once you think the play is over, the ball can come at you, and it can come quick."

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