49ers Rookies Impress on Preseason Debut

49ers Rookies Impress on Preseason Debut

The 49er’s off season seems to have centered around where in the NFL will Jimmy Garoppolo end up. While others debated Jimmy G’s future, the 49ers quietly prepared for the season. Step one was to execute the best draft possible. Judging by the performance of game one, the 49ers brass executed the draft and rookie free agent market masterfully. Step two involved Trey Lance’s continued development as the team’s signal caller. He executed 11 plays, throwing 4-5 for 92 yards and a TD. 76 of those yards came on a 3rd and 9 wherein Lance hit a wide-open Danny Gray for a house call. The Jimmy G drama has had no effect on the team. It’s time to leave him in the past where he belongs.

The 49ers made good use of the nine draft picks they selected in this year’s draft. Drake Jackson showed off his athleticism from his defensive end position, harassing the opposing quarterback for most of the first half. He forced errant throws and deflected a pass. Though he didn’t register a tackle he effected the game with his consistent pressure in the backfield. Third round pick Danny Gray collected two passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. He would have had a third reception, but Lance slightly overthrew him into the boundary. It was a beautiful catch, but it was out of bounds. Gray caught a beautiful 23-yard ball on a in cut showing that he is not just a one trick pony. Sammy Womack, a fifth rounder, collected two interceptions and executed two pass deflections. The rookie was the best corner on the field Friday night. However, the defender of the night was rookie free agent Marcelino McCrary-Ball. He is listed as a linebacker though he is only 6-foot and 214 pounds. Despite his size, he collected 3 tackles, a pass deflection and interception that he ran back into Packer territory. If he keeps performing at this level, it will be hard to keep him off the team. Lastly, Mr. Irrelevant a.k.a. Brock Purdy, put on a strong performance to close out the game. He went 3 for 6 and 36 yards for a touchdown. The numbers look paltry, however he was forced to step up in the pocket and make some difficult throws. He also completed a 2-point conversion on a beautiful fade route. Purdy may also make this team if his play continues to sustain and improve. The rookies are all developing; however, the important thing is that they continue to improve at every practice.

The 49ers also collected a few free agents who showed their potential on Friday night. Ray Ray McCloud III collected four receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown. One of his receptions went for 39 yards. That was the good. The bad was Ray Ray fumbled away a fourth down reception. Kerry Hyder Jr, Oren Burks and Greg Odum all made their presence known on the field with their consistent play on defense. It looks like they found some glue guys; they are players that will fill important roles in an impactful way. Maybe Ray Ray could use some of that glue on his gloves.

It was not all good. The 49ers still have areas to improve in. Surprisingly, Ambry Thomas appears to be a liability in coverage. Tavarious Moore was flat out beat on a go route for a touchdown by the Green Bay Packers rookie receiver Romeo Doubs. The offensive line struggled in pass protection and the run game was abysmal. Given that it is the preseason, it appears the coaching staff wanted to put some film together and figure out where the new players on the offensive line fit best. The formula for that problem is still being written.

Friday night gave the 49ers something to be happy about. Hardly any of the starters played. Despite that, the backups played meaningful minutes and executed fairly well under the circumstances. The team played efficiently, hard and with a sense of pride. The 49ers need to continue to improve as they get ready for a tough season ahead. The best part is that we saw Trey Lance put on a show. He scrambled, he threw, and he led his team. It’s time to put the Jimmy G debate to bed. It’s the Trey Lance show now. Let’s sit back and enjoy!

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