With the San Francisco 49ers’ first preseason game upon us this week, let’s take a look at the team’s draft picks and how they’re doing in camp so far.
– LB Aldon Smith
Has earned his spot on the first team defense with Ahmad Brooks off the field. He has shown his physical nature against the likes of left tackle Joe Staley and Alex Boone. Boone’s size matches up well with Smith, but Smith has continued to add pressure to the quarterback. Despite the early success, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio believes that Smith is slowly progressing to where he needs to be. There’s still a lot he needs to learn but so far, he has looked very good.
– QB Colin Kaepernick
Kaepernick continues to show off his strong arm but is still learning the ropes of being a quarterback in the West Coast Offense. Decision making might be Kaepernick’s biggest struggle right now but he is slowly coming along. On Tuesday, he showed off his arm on deep fade routes. It will be a while before Kaepernick is ready to jump into a bigger role, but he’s slowly learning the ropes of the NFL game.
– CB Chris Culliver
Culliver, despite not having played much man-to-man cornerback at South Carolina, has been the biggest surprise in camp. He covers the receivers very well and his ball instincts are impressive. His ability to knock down passes and suffocate receivers has earned him lots of playing time with the second team. He’s defended the team’s top wide receviers well and continues to improve. Learning the position will be his toughest battle in camp.
– RB Kendall Hunter
The back has looked slightly better than Anthony Dixon in some instances of the game but it hasn’t been anything significant to warrant him a jump up in the depth chart. He continues to find holes in the offensive line and that might be his best skill at his size. Blocking right now will be his biggest challenge.
– G Daniel Kilgore
The versatile rookie saw action with the first team on Tuesday and looks solid protecting the line. His versatility gives the 49ers a good option for the line during the season. He’s been focusing on the left guard position mainly.
– WR Ronald Johnson
He may not have the speed, but he has worked his way up to one of the best hands on the team. Johnson continues to be a solid target with the second team and when he’s been in with the first team, he’s made a case to make the roster this season. He also has been seeing some special teams action as a kickoff returner.
– S Colin Jones
Jones has mainly been in with the third team defense but his role is to be a special teams player. He’s a work in progress but it is hard to see his value during practice. His play on Friday will help define his role with the team.
– FB Bruce Miller
Miller has seen limited action since coming off the PUP list. He has looked good, but not enough on-field time yet to get a fair assessment.
– G Mike Person
Person is at the right tackle position with the third team and is still working on his footwork and technique. He hasn’t looked tremendous with his blocking, but he is learning and improving.
– CB Curtis Holcomb
Ruptured Achilles tendon — out for the year.