Sakamoto: 5/7/16 Rookie Minicamp Recap, Drills, and Videos

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Which San Francisco 49ers rookies look strong during individual drills? Which of the 12 undrafted rookie free-agents stood out? Who seems to be on the rise? These are all questions I ask myself, heading into today’s first day of rookie minicamp. And while 49ers first-round pick (No. 7) DE DeForest Buckner continues to garner the majority of headlines, I roamed around the field to see who else may prove worthy in 2016.


While we weren’t allowed to view team drills ala formations, we did see the rookies partake in individual work. And it all started with DLC Jerry Azzinaro and of course, ‘De-Fo.’

Buckner having been familiar with Coach Azz from his time at Oregon, looked very comfortable working the tackle sleds. From the stack-and-shed from the 4i position (shade inside of offensive tackle’s inside shoulder) to high-pad pass (stack-and-shed pass-rush swim move), Buckner looked the most fluid of all the rookie defensive lineman.

But if I had to pick a second best, I would have to say that player is undrafted rookie free-agent DE Demetrius Cherry. The Arizona State product was seen working closely with Coach Azz for the majority of individual drills (specifically in the punch drill). A player who looked the most fluid when flipping his hips, keep an eye on Cherry as the 49ers may have found a diamond in the rough.

Moving on over to the offensive side of the ball, I quickly shifted my focus to the offensive line where OG Joshua Garnett looked every part of a first-round pick. From standing out in the drive blocking drill to the reach block (offensive lineman gets head on outside shoulder of defensive lineman), Garnett impressed.

However, the same can’t be said of Georgia OT John Theus (No. 145) or Ole Miss OT Fahn Cooper (No. 174). Both players looked extremely stiff on day one. Something that was a cause for concern when the team drafted both players while transitioning to a zone-blocking scheme, I didn’t come away exactly thrilled with either one of these rookies.

Now down to the offensive skill positions where WR Aaron Burbridge looked like the cream of the crop. From making back-shoulder catches to coming off his stem, Burbridge passed WRC Bob Bicknell’s test with flying colors. Stanford WR Devon Cajuste however, just looked average. I was expecting to see his strong hands on display but unfortunately I have nothing to report from today’s practice.

As the 49ers continue to shape up their roster, I will keep you posted on which young players have the best shot at making the team.

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.