Five 49ers to watch: 2. Anthony Davis


Five 49ers to watch: 2. Anthony Davis

(This is the fourth part in a series that spotlights five 49ers players to watch in the team's exhibition game Sunday, 1 p.m. (FOX-TV), at the Denver Broncos.)
No. 5 --Ikaika Alama-FrancisNo. 4 --Anthony DixonNo. 3 -- Perrish CoxRight tackle Anthony Davis is not fighting for a roster spot. He is not fighting for a starting job, either.
Davis is entrenched as the starter, and should be ready for a breakout season. His pass protection looks better, as working in the 49ers' entire offseason conditioning program has him in better shape and more sound with his technique than at any point in the past.Yes, it's the exhibition season. But there's nothing inconsequential about these games for offensive linemen. Hits on the quarterback are just as dangerous -- and hurt just as much -- as they do in the regular season.The starters are expected to play longer Sunday for the 49ers and Broncos. So that means Davis will be entrusted to block Von Miller, the reigning NFL DefensiveRookie of the Year, for a long period of time. Miller recorded 11.5 sacks last season.Miller's quickness off the snap, combined with the possibility of crowd noise that could make it difficult for the tackles to hear Smith's cadence, will provide a major challenge for Davis."I think everybody in the NFL is pretty quick," Davis said. "But I know what you mean. He's exceptionally quick."Pass protection was a problem in the 49ers' exhibition game against the Houston Texans, though the offensive line was generally not to blame. Guard Mike Iupati allowed one hit on the quarterback. Running back Kendall Hunter did not pick up a blitz, and Alex Smith admitted making bad decisions that left him exposed.Left tackle Joe Staley will be equally tested on the other side against Broncos' edge rusher Elvis Dumervil."With crowd noise behind them, it will be great work for us," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "It will really be good work for us. I think just the way their defense is built right now with those two players coming off the edges, it's tremendous work for us. We have to be on our 'A' game."

49ers sign top pick Solomon Thomas during first practice

49ers sign top pick Solomon Thomas during first practice

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers completed contract negotiations with their final unsigned draft pick as the team was going through warm-ups for the first practice of training camp.

Former Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas, whom the 49ers selected with the No. 3 overall pick, signed Friday and was expected to join his teammates later in the day.

The sides agreed to the mandatory four-year contract worth more than $28 million, including a signing bonus of approximately $18.6 million. The deal is expected to be fully guaranteed.

The 49ers also have an option for the fifth season (2021) that must be exercised months after the 2019 season.

Thomas was unable to participate in full-squad workouts during the offseason due to Stanford’s late class schedule. NFL rules prohibit a rookie from attending the offseason program until his school’s classes have concluded for the spring session.

The 49ers – and the vast majority of NFL teams – have not had a contract stalemate with a rookie since the new collective bargaining agreement went into effect in 2011.

The organization had similar timing with a first-round pick from last year. Guard Joshua Garnett, also from Stanford, signed with the 49ers on the evening before players were scheduled to report to training camp.

Around the NFL, there has been only one notable contract disagreement that prevented a draft pick from reporting to camp in a timely fashion. Defensive lineman Joey Bosa, whom the Chargers selected with the No. 3 pick last year, sat out a month of training camp due to a disagreement over how his bonus would be distributed. Bosa and Thomas are both represented by the agent firm of Creative Artists Agency.

Ward injures hamstring under team supervision, placed on PUP


Ward injures hamstring under team supervision, placed on PUP

SANTA CLARA – Safety Jimmie Ward was placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list to open training camp with a hamstring injury, the 49ers announced Friday morning.

General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan stated on Thursday that all of their players were healthy and no players would be headed to PUP or the non-football injury list.

But that was before the 49ers were scheduled to have their conditioning test. Ward sustained the injury on Thursday during the team's conditioning test. The team lists him as "week to week."

He can be activated to begin practice at any time. Ward is also eligible to begin the regular season on the PUP list. Any player who opens the regular season on PUP is ineligible for the first six weeks of the season.

Ward is expected to be one of the key members of the 49ers' defense from the free safety position. His role is dubbed "The Eraser," fellow safety Eric Reid said, because of his role as a playmaker in the secondary. However, one of the major questions about Ward is his ability to remain healthy through the rigors of an NFL season.

Ward missed eight games as a rookie due to a foot injury. Last year, he sat out five games due to a shoulder injury.