The San Francisco 49ers were supposed to be on Day 2 of their mandatory minicamp, but head coach Kyle Shanahan elected to cancel the on-field portion workouts following long-term injuries to offensive lineman Justin Skule and safety Tavarius Moore.
Instead, we won’t see the 49ers hold another on-field team activity until training camp, which is scheduled for late July.
One player who will be under the microscope when training camp begins is No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance. The former North Dakota State quarterback was selected to be the face of the franchise for the 49ers but likely won’t have to face the immediate pressure that comes with being a high draft pick.
With incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo still on the roster, the 49ers will be patient with Lance. The 21-year-old is honing his skills along with teammate Mohamed Sanu. There are a couple of videos posted on social media showing Lance and the veteran receiver working out together (h/t 49ers Web Zone and Alex Tran for the finds):
Lance’s athleticism is on full display in the short videos. While the rookie may not see a ton of snaps in Year 1, it will be interesting to see how much Sanu has left in the tank.
The 49ers have an opening for their third receiver spot behind Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. The position-battle will be one of the focal points of training camp.
Sanu had 653 reception yards and four touchdowns with the Atlanta Falcons during Kyle Shanahan’s final season as the team’s offensive coordinator. The 31-year-old was productive for the Falcons with 66 receptions for 838 yards and four touchdowns in 2018 but has struggled to get back to that level over the past two years.
He dealt with an ankle injury before signing with the 49ers last season and only had one reception for nine yards in three games with the team in 2020.
Offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel spoke about Sanu during his media availability at OTAs last week.
“You can tell that he doesn’t expect anything to be given to him, and he’s trying to earn his spot on this team,” McDaniel said. “So it was very exciting to see him perform. He was doing very well. And, if he comes back to training camp in that same shape, he’s going to be a guy that is going to be tough to beat out for that final 53 (man) roster.”
Sanu is expected to be among the group that challenges for the third receiver spot in training camp alongside Richie James Jr., Jalen Hurd, Travis Benjamin and Trent Sherfield.
McDaniel wants the young players to emulate the work ethic and attitude they have seen from Sanu over the years.
“Mohamed Sanu is a player that we have history with, not just last year briefly, but in Atlanta for 2016. And I think Mohamed Sanu serves as a good vision for a lot of the young guys because this dude came back in great shape and with something to prove.”
Do you think Sanu will factor into the 49ers’ offense next season? Or will he serve as a depth piece among the receivers?