The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their 2014 mandatory minicamp on Thursday, and wide receiver Anquan Boldin had some praise for some of the younger wide receivers. The 49ers conducted a fairly brief 55 minute practice session to close out camp, and Bruce Ellington in particular continued to look pretty solid.
Boldin spoke with the media after the practice session wrapped up. One of the first questions was about Bruce Ellington. Right off the bat, he went to a well-worn phrase, saying he was "a football player". That seems generic, but for Boldin and Jim Harbaugh, I think that kind of says a lot about a guy. We are left to make some inferences, but to me it always comes off like a description of a guy who does everything you want. He may not be exactly where he needs to be in his development, but he's showing signs and takes this business seriously. Boldin said Ellington was picking up the system, and generally seemed to have a good grasp on the playbook.
I asked Boldin what he thought of Quinton Patton with a year under his belt. He said he seemed more comfortable, and was able to have a little more fun on the field. He pointed out that Patton was not hampered by his knee. I don't know if he actually meant foot, which was the injury Patton suffered last season, and later briefly dealt with during an early portion of OTAs. Either way, he said he looked more comfortable, so there you go.
I didn't pay super close attention to Patton during minicamp. He got some work in the punt return drills. He wasn't awful, but it wasn't the greatest experience for him. Bruce Ellington got some work as a punt returner, but I also paid attention to his work as a receiver. It's no contact, no pads, so we have to take everything with a grain of salt, but Ellington looked good. He seems to have confidence when he catches the ball, and as Boldin pointed out, he at least appears to know what he's doing on a regular basis.
It's hard to tell exactly how Ellington will fit in when the season starts, particularly given the extensive depth at the position. There are a lot of bodies in the mix. I imagine Ellington will get plenty of preseason opportunities. If he continues to develop as we've seen thus far, I could see the team developing some select packages to mix him in once regular season football starts. But for now he at least has the look of a guy who is ready to make an impact.