San Francisco 49ers: 5 Players Whose Stock Is on the Rise After OTAs
In about three months, the San Francisco 49ers will be kicking off their 2013 season, and a few players have already built some positive momentum.
Whether it's getting healthy, getting stronger, getting comfortable with a new team or impressing the coaching staff and media, these five players took advantage of OTAs.
The stock of the following members of the 49ers is on the rise.
Anquan Boldin knows how to make an impression.
Across the board, the 49ers media raved about Boldin's performance at OTAs. During one late May practice in particular, he caught 10 passes on 11 targets during seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills, according to Grant Cohn of The Press Democrat.
The 32-year-old is coming off a magical playoff run for the Baltimore Ravens in which he had 380 receiving yards and four touchdowns in four games. With Michael Crabtree likely out for at least the first two months of the season with a torn Achilles, the 49ers are hoping that Boldin's playoff form resurfaces early in the 2013 campaign.
A strong performance in OTAs is a great sign moving forward.
Nnamdi Asomugha signed a one-year deal worth up to $3 million with San Francisco, yet none of the money was guaranteed. In other words, the 49ers can cut him at any time before the season without a financial consequence.
That being said, Asomugha recently lined up with the 49ers first-string defense in OTAs, and also, according to Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee, the veteran cornerback was "counseling San Francisco's collection of young receivers on how to play at the NFL level."
Asomugha also admitted that he's getting comfortable with the 49ers' defensive schemes, according to Taylor Price of 49ers.com.
All of these developments are good signs that Asomugha will make the team. The 49ers are hoping that Asomugha can have a similar resurgence in 2013 to what Carlos Rogers had in his first year in Red and Gold in 2011.
When Kendall Hunter tore his Achilles in late November, there were concerns that he might not be back by the beginning of the 2013 season.
Most of the concerns were erased during OTAs, where Hunter was seen sprinting and cutting while "taking handoffs, working on footwork and running pass routes" in individual drills, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.
Hunter should be set to fully participate in training camp practices.
According to Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee, LaMichael James said he gained 10 pounds of muscle this offseason, which has him feeling "way more explosive."
Considering how fast he was going into the offseason, that's a great sign for the 49ers Faithful.
James looked more comfortable catching punts during OTAs, according to Barrows, and said he views himself as the top option for returning kickoffs and punts.
If Kyle Williams—who was considered for this list because of the progress in his knee recovery—isn't healthy by the beginning of the season, James has a good shot at being San Francisco's lone kickoff and punt returner for the Week 1 showdown against the Green Bay Packers.
Jim Tomsula has a thing for Lawrence Okoye.
Don't believe me? Here's what the 49ers defensive line coach told Andrew Elliot of Sunday Express:
Our owners, general manager and head coach, they are the people who make the final decisions on signings. But did I push for him? Absolutely. Did I want him to be here? Absolutely.
He has speed, strength and athleticism – he has all the tools. I’m having a blast coaching him.
Okoye got loads of reps at OTAs and had his highlights, via Grant Cohn of The Press Democrat.
Sure, it would be unwise to put too much stock into a defensive lineman's performance at OTAs. After all, players don't wear pads.
But it's never a bad sign to get on Tomsula's good side.
If Okoye shows some football savvy at training camp, he could be a surprise addition to the 53-man roster.