Minicamp Day 2: Young WRs look like keepers

Minicamp Day 2: Young WRs look like keepers
June 19, 2014, 6:00 am
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Bruce Ellington fielded kickoffs from Phil Dawson on Wednesday with LaMichael James, Carlos Hyde and Devon Wylie. (USATSI)

Editor's note: Matt Maiocco is in Santa Clara Tuesday through Thursday for the 49ers’ three-day minicamp. Stay logged on to and tune in nightly to SportsNet Central and Yahoo SportsTalk Live for comprehensive coverage.

SANTA CLARA -- Although it will be difficult for a young 49ers receiver to crack through for significant playing time this season, Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington continued to make their cases why they should be locks for the 53-man roster.

Anquan Boldin was his usual reliable self during practice Wednesday at the 49ers’ mandatory minicamp. Colin Kaepernick’s favorite target during the offseason program saw plenty of action come his way during 11-on-11 drills when the other quarterbacks were on the field, too. Boldin was clearly the most polished receiver on the field with Michael Crabtree and Stevie Johnson sitting out team drills -- and tight end Vernon Davis absent as part of his contract holdout.

But Patton and Ellington had plenty of moments, too.

Patton caught three consecutive Josh Johnson passes during an 11-on-11 session against the first-team defense, including a sliding grab. The next completion went to Ellington, a fourth-round draft pick from South Carolina.

It did not take long Ellington to get off to a fast start. During a one-on-one period at the beginning of practice, Ellington blazed down the right sideline and caught a deep pass from McLeod Bethel-Thompson over the tight defense of fellow rookie Dontae Johnson.

[REWIND: Minicamp Day 1: New-look offense?]

Here are some notes and observations from Wednesday’s practice:

--Between periods of practice George Whitfield, the so-called quarterbacks guru who is working with the 49ers as an intern, was seen speaking with Kaepernick. He appeared to be discussing Kaepernick’s upper-body positioning as they worked on different arm angles under duress.

[REWIND: QB guru not named among coaches who work with Kap]

--Boldin does not just have advice for the young receivers on the team. Brandon Lloyd and Boldin were alone on one side of the practice field while special-teams drills were going on. Lloyd appeared to be all ears as Boldin spoke to him during practice about getting off press coverage.

--LaMichael James, Carlos Hyde, Devon Wylie and Bruce Ellington fielded kickoffs from Phil Dawson in a stiff crosswind.

--Running back Carlos Hyde and Marcus Lattimore continued to demonstrate good hands out of the backfield. Hyde looks more explosive getting up the field on run plays during the non-contact drills. Lattimore still looks hesitant, but he has shown a lot of progress since he was seen in his first practice last month.

--Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks delivered the defensive play of the day. Kaepernick dropped back and was eyeing the left side of the field. He quickly came back to the right side for running back Jewel Hampton. However, Brooks was not fooled. He stepped on front of Hampton to pick off the pass and would’ve had a pick six.

--Safety Eric Reid and cornerback Perrish Cox recorded interceptions against Bethel-Thompson and Johnson, respectively.

--With Derek Carrier sitting out with a slight hamstring strain, rookie tight ends Asante Cleveland and Kevin Greene saw a lot of action and were more involved in the passing game than Vance McDonald or Garrett Celek.

--Yes, the drills are non-contact -- and, certainly, the quarterbacks cannot be touched -- but Aldon Smith, Brooks and Tank Carradine broke through for would-be sacks during 11-on-11 drills.

--The 49ers have an open roster spot after veteran cornerback Eric Wright's retirement this week. Coach Jim Harbaugh said the club would fill that opening at some point after the end of minicamp (Thursday) and the beginning of training camp on July 23.

[RELATED: 49ers CB Wright retires from NFL]