The 49ers had their third day of practice on Saturday, and it was particularly notable because the entire team padded up for the first time. Although it's not exactly normal game action, it's one big step closer. It gives us another opportunity to consider how the depth chart is developing, and who might be taking advantage of additional opportunities.
It sounds like nose tackle Ian Williams is taking a big step forward in the battle to replace Isaac Sopoaga. Jim Harbaugh made it sound like Glenn Dorsey had the early edge, but obviously some of us were misinterpreting that. We are only three days into camp, but Ian Williams is getting rave reviews. The practice reports below go into a bit more detail, but for now, it's generally all good signs for Williams in camp.
We'll look into Johnson in a bit more detail, but the 49ers outside linebacker is another one who seems to be impressing thus far. Vic Fangio went into some specific detail about Johnson's improvement this year, citing how Johnson is light years ahead of where he was last year. Fangio is not one to dole out extensive praise, so I think it is notable. And if you've read over the practice reports thus far, Johnson has been making an impact. We'll see what the first preseason game brings, but it could make for an interesting competition with Corey Lemonier and Parys Haralson.
On the offensive side of the ball, Vernon Davis appears to be connecting on a fairly regular basis with Colin Kaepernick. There has also been talk of Anquan Boldin developing into a security blanket of sorts for Kap, but odds seem good that Davis will be the primary big play threat in the passing game. They started to emerge during the playoffs last year, and hopefully they're able to build on it in 2013.
The 49ers second year wide receiver seems to be dealing with all sorts of inconsistencies for now. It sounds like he'll make some solid catches, but then he'll struggle going after the ball, or just struggle staying on his feet on a play. Kyle Williams sat out 11-on-11 work with a hamstring tweak, so there are opportunities available for Jenkins. It's just a matter of taking advantage of those opportunities. It's hard to know what to assess from these reports on Jenkins. He appears to be struggling at times, but one has to wonder how critical an eye there is on him at this point.
The big man from England had his first padded workout as an American football player, and while he was raw, Matt Barrows described him on Twitter as "not terrible", and in his article as "not awful." For most players that would be a brutal assessment. For a guy who never played American football before this year, I'd argue that's about as good as we could reasonable expect. I'm curious to see plenty of players in game action, but I can't think of anybody who has me more curious than Okoye. Even if he ends up on the practice squad, or even out of football entirely, I really want to see him on the football field in the preseason.