Three and Out: No touching Kap; Baldwin playing catch-up
SANTA CLARA -- Jon Baldwin figures to be one of the wide receivers on the 49ers' 53-man roster, but he is playing catch-up.
Not only is he at least an entire offseason behind the other front-runners to earn roster spots. He is also 17 days behind veterans Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins, who signed with the 49ers more than a week into training camp.
Baldwin went through just his second practice with the 49ers on Wednesday after arriving on the scene this week in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs for A.J. Jenkins.
It does not provide much time for quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Baldwin to create much chemistry with the regular season set to open Sept. 8 against the Green Bay Packers.
"To me, receivers' body language is something you have to be able to read as a quarterback," Kaepernick said. "So, every day you're out there, you have to be paying attention, you have to be picking up on those things."
The 49ers have a scheduled day off on Thursday. So Kaepernick and Baldwin will have only four days of on-field work together before Baldwin suits up for his first exhibition game with his new team.
"He's a big target, has good hands, is picking up the playbook quickly," Kaepernick said. "So, (I'm) looking forward to seeing what he can do out there."
Kaepernick and Baldwin first met in the lead-up to the 2011 draft. Quarterbacks threw to wide receivers at the NFL scouting combine. Baldwin was the No. 26 overall pick of the Chiefs, while Kaepernick was chosen by the 49ers 10 spots later.
"I met him when I came out my senior year, getting ready for the combine and everything," Kaepernick said. "So, I have a past relationship with him a little bit, but it's going to take time to really get a feel for him."
Kaepernick played just 16 snaps in the 49ers' first two exhibition games. He came out after just four plays in the 49ers' game Friday against the Chiefs. Practices are key for Kaepernick to build a rapport with a wide receiver because there are few opportunities in the exhibition season for a front-line starting quarterback.
"I would play every snap if they let me," Kaepernick said.
Jenkins' departure means that other wide receivers will get more playing time to prove themselves. Jenkins played 77 snaps in the first two games. Now, Baldwin enters the mix in a group that features 10 other wide receivers.
"There are a lot of options there," Harbaugh said. "I've been really, really impressed with our receiving group. The way they practice, the way they perform. But, any number of guys will be getting those reps."
Anquan Boldin, Kyle Williams, Marlon Moore, Baldwin and rookie Quinton Patton look to be on solid ground. Chad Hall, Austin Collie, Lavelle Hawkins, Ricardo Lockette, Kassim Osgood and Chuck Jacobs are also competing for jobs.
"The more weapons we have on this team, the happier I am," Kaepernick said. "Lot of great receivers on the team. A lot of talented people. I think we have a lot of playmakers."