Well, day one with all your new San Francisco 49ers is officially done. All the rookies were in camp, and there were some veterans in on a voluntary basis as well. Apparently the coaching staff let some veterans know they would like to see them in camp, schedule permitting. According to Barrows, the veterans included:
FS Dashon Goldson, DE Kentwan Balmer, WR Josh Morgan, S Lewis Baker, OT Jacob Bender, WR Mark Bradford LB Ahmad Brooks, LB Marques Harris, WR Jason Hill, QB Shaun Hill, CB Marcus Hudson, FB Zak Keasey, LB Jay Moore, WR Maurice Price, G Chilo Rachal, LB Justin Roland, QB Alex Smith, CB Reggie Smith, WR Michael Spurlock, OT Joe Toledo, TE Delanie Walker, C Cody Wallace, LB Mark Washington, S Jimmy Williams, WR Dominique Zeigler
The rookies usually get a lion's share of the practice time, but we had a mix of folks on the field yesterday. No particularly shocking news came out of it, but we got a look at some interesting lineups. Some interesting aspects of the lineups? One was Marques Harris lining up as the strongside OLB, with Jay Moore backing him up.
The other one I found interesting was Reggie Smith starting at strong safety, and not at cornerback. I realize there has been plenty of discussion about Reggie Smith moving to safety eventually, but it remains interesting to me. Michael Lewis is obviously the starter at strong safety at this point. He made some solid plays for the 49ers last season, and at 29 he still has some tread left on his tired.
However, in looking back at draft day scouting reports, you could see the potential move to strong safety coming:
An instinctive defender who plays with physicality and loves to hit, Smith is an assignment-true cornerback who has the versatility to play safety, a position that might be his home in the pros because of his lack of deep speed to run with the quicker wideouts . . . His skill set may be best suited to safety in the pros, but his success at cornerback in college will earn him a look at that position with the 49ers.
I had thought about posting a poll on this topic, but I couldn't think of particularly clear answers. So, I'll just propose it as a topic for discussion. Do you see Reggie Smith eventually supplanting Michael Lewis as the starting strong safety? If so, how long do you think it will take?
At this point, it's probably too soon to tell, but I definitely would like to see it happen possibly in 2010. Obviously if he did it sooner that would be a good thing, but I don't think I see it happening this year. Given that he was a college corner and they tried getting him reps as a corner last year, it will probably take some time for him to truly learn the position. At the same time, if he's a fast learner, who knows how quickly he could take over.