49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

June 25, 2010
Rookie review: Kyle Williams and Phillip Adams

WR Kyle Williams, 206th overall. I made a mental note about Williams when, during the team's May rookie minicamp, he went down early with a hamstring pull and sat out most of the session. Ticky tacky injuries are the ruin of many a wide receiver (see: Woods, Rashaun) and I wondered if Williams was in that same mold.

The Arizona State product, however, bounced back nicely during all the June sessions. No, Williams wasn't perfect. He had his share of dropped punts and his receiving routes weren't always perfect. But like the rest of his classmates, he improved noticeably as time went on. Also, it's clear that he indeed possesses something none of his 49ers teammates have - true quickness. The result of Scot McCloughan's distaste for small, jitterbug wideouts is a rather homogenous collection of big, sturdy players who can block downfield but who can't make defenders miss. Williams may not have elite straight-line speed, but he gets up to speed right out of the gate and can cut on a dime. McCloughan didn't like small players because he thought they would wear down and get hurt at the end of the season when their team needed them most. That's something to keep on eye on with Trent Baalke imports like Williams and Ted Ginn.

I'd wager that Williams is the frontrunner to handle most of the punt-return duties this year mainly because the 49ers would rather Ginn concentrate on his receiving duties. It may be a situation in which Ginn has the job to start the season and Williams gradually takes over. Williams is similar in size to another return specialist, Brandon Williams, whom the 49ers drafted in the third round in 2006. Brandon Williams' issue was dedication. That Kyle Williams comes from a professional sports family signals that he knows the dedication it requires to make the 53-man squad.

CB Phillip Adams, 224th. The good news about Adams: He didn't look out of place, which is something you have to wonder about when you draft in the guy in the seventh round from a school so small that his game film looks like it was shot in 1963. Nate Clements' and Shawntae Spencers' absences this spring were a boon to the team's young cornerbacks, who got plenty of repetitions. Adams, in fact, worked with the second-team defense throughout June and he came up with an interception - off a Ginn drop - in one of the May sessions.

Adams is listed at 192 pounds, but he seemed bigger than in practice. He reminds me a little of Marcus Hudson, one of the bigger, more physical cornerbacks on the team has had in recent seasons. Maybe it's because, like most 49ers cornerbacks, Adams wasn't afraid to use his hands on receivers and seemed best when playing close to the line of scrimmage. Like Hudson, Adams' mark, at least early on, will have to come on special teams. The first four cornerback spots belong to Clements, Spencer, Tarell Brown and Karl Paymah and the fifth likely will go to Will James. The 49ers should have no problem stowing Adams on the practice squad if need be.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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