Where Davis fits among other 49ers pass-catchers

Kaepernick and Davis strengthening rapport

Where Davis fits among other 49ers pass-catchers
July 29, 2013, 11:30 am
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Vernon Davis led the 49ers in receptions and yards in 2009 and 2010 before Michael Crabtree supplanted him. (USA TODAY IMAGES)


Vernon Davis: "I'm willing to step up and do whatever they ask me to do, and they've been having me work with the wide receivers, pretty much all over the place." (AP)

SANTA CLARA -- Tight end Vernon Davis spent a lot more time talking about playing wide receiver on Sunday than actually playing the position.

Davis suggested he has spent significant time with the wide receivers. But he has not been seen doing any one-on-one work when wide receivers are matched up against cornerbacks at the beginning of practices.

And during 7-on-7 and team drills, Davis has yet to take reps away from the other wide receivers. However, as they've used him in the past, Davis moves around a little. He has seen a little time in the slot. But in four days of practices, he has lined up at wide receiver no more than a handful of times.

[RELATED: 49ers camp report: Kaepernick looks deep for Davis]

In other words, the 49ers do not appear to be using Davis any differently than they have in the past. At least, up until this point.

"I'm willing to step up and do whatever they ask me to do, and they've been having me work with the wide receivers, pretty much all over the place," Davis said.

At 245 pounds with tremendous straight-line speed and determination as a blocker, Davis is clearly better-suited to play tight end, where he can find favorable matchups against linebackers and safeties. But it's not out of the question that the 49ers could use him outside on more passing downs.

After all, the 49ers will play most of the season without Michael Crabtree, who sustained a torn Achilles tendon in May. Davis led the 49ers in receptions and yards in 2009 and 2010 before Crabtree supplanted him as the top 49ers target in the passing game the past two seasons. Davis had a significant dry spell with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback in the regular season. He caught just six passes for 61 yards in the 49ers' final six regular-season games. But in the NFC Championship game and Super Bowl, Davis had 11 catches for 210 yards.

Anquan Boldin is clearly the 49ers' top wide receiver. None of the other receivers stepped forward in the first four practices. In fact, the receiver position is currently weaker than it was when camp began.

[RELATED: Teammates still trying to get to know Anquan Boldin]

Chad Hall, whom the 49ers promoted to the 53-man roster for the playoffs, has made the biggest training-camp impact of any of the wide receivers -- other than Boldin.

Hall was also the first player Davis mentioned Sunday when discussing the 49ers' unproven wideouts.

"I really like Chad," Davis said. "He's quick, he's fast, (and) he's doing everything that the coaches are asking him to do and he comes to work."

Kyle Williams sustained a hamstring strain early in practice Saturday that kept him out Sunday. Ricardo Lockette was hobbled Sunday with a hip injury. Marlon Moore and Kassim Osgood appeared gimpy, too. Rookie Quinton Patton is running routes, but no passes have been thrown to him in four days due to what Harbaugh diagnosed a jammed middle finger on his left hand.

A.J. Jenkins has remained healthy, but he has not distinguished himself in practices. He had no receptions Sunday in 11-on-11 sessions. Undrafted Chuck Jacobs has been solid. Charly Martin, recently claimed off waivers from Seattle, is also getting a limited number of reps.

The 49ers' wide receivers can take advantage of a much-needed day off from practice on Monday. If the 49ers figure to be shorthanded at wide receiver this week, the team's front office must make a decision on whether to bring in another receiver for the 90-man roster.

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