Sakamoto: 5/17/16 OTA Recap, Drills, and Videos

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Just 10 days after holding rookie minicamp, it was the San Francisco 49ers full 89-man squad that was on hand for today’s first day of OTAs (Organized Team Activities). A team looking to return to their winning ways, there was no shortage of high profile NFL analysts roaming around Levi’s Stadium.

From Steve Wyche of NFL Network to Bob Holtzman of ESPN, both were seen at Levi’s Stadium while getting a closer look at the team’s quarterback situation. Two highly respected men in their respective fields, it was Holtzman who broke news earlier this morning, saying he wouldn’t be surprised if QB Colin Kaepernick was named the Day 1 starter.

Based on your recent comments, I realize you are all getting tired of hearing about the Kaepernick drama, so let’s shift our focus to today’s first day of OTAs.


Starting with individual work, I wanted to get a closer look at DLC Jerry Azzinaro’s defensive line. Two players stood out during positional work, DE Quinton Dial and rookie fifth-round pick (No. 142) DE Ronald Blair.

One of 49ers GM Trent Baalke’sfavorite selections,’ Blair did not disappoint as his non-stop motor was evident during team drills. From an inside speed rush to trimming the corner off the edge, Blair was all over the field making plays.

Blair will likely be fighting for a spot in the team’s sub-package, and looks to be headed in the right direction after Day 1.

Which brings me to third-year DE Tank Carradine. A player who has fluctuated his weight since entering the NFL in 2013, Carradine will finally get a fair shot to showcase his pass rush skill set in 2016. During today’s first day of OTA’s, Carradine was seen working one-on-one with Coach Azz on his pass-rush (see video above).

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, believes Carradine had a solid day of practice despite working out as an OLB. And I wouldn’t disagree.

I’m a firm believer that games are won and lost down in the trenches. And that’s where my focus went next. As the offensive line was on my short list. Individual work led by 49ers Assistant OLC Eric Wolford, the offensive line was seen working on their pad level using the cage as a point of reference.

After finishing their reps on the cage drill, the 49ers offensive lineman immediately hit the tackle sleds with OLC Pat Flaherty. It was there that we saw a first glimpse of the combo blocking that will be used in Coach Flat’s zone blocking scheme. A drill where two offensive lineman basically forklift a player backwards, it was OG Andrew Tiller and OG Brandon Thomas who were featured today. (see video above)

Thomas was getting first-team reps since OG Joshua Garnett was absent from today’s practice. The starters for today were OT Joe Staley, OG Zane Beadles, OC Daniel Kilgore, OG Brandon Thomas, and OT Erik Pears.

While there was nothing really special to report, it is noteworthy to let you know that three players changed positions. 49ers FB Bruce Miller has been converted to tight end, DB Jimmie Ward was seen as the starting outside corner opposite of CB Tramaine Brock, and Carradine was of course, used as an OLB.

With the 49ers continuing to tweak their personnel, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out, as there are eight OTA practices left.

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.