49ers Blog and Q&A

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

July 30, 2010
No tardies: Rookie class arrives for first day of camp

There will be no Crabtree Watch this year.

The four 49ers draft picks who hadn't struck deals with the team signed their contracts in quick succession Friday morning, meaning the entire rookie class was on hand for the first team function that began at 11 a.m. Veterans will report tomorrow, although a large number of them, including quarterback Alex Smith, running back Michael Robinson and defensive end Kentwan Balmer, were on hand today. The team will spend the next two days reviewing the plays that were installed over the spring before getting out on the field for a non-padded practice Sunday afternoon.

The team's two first-round picks, Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati, said they discussed getting their deals done quickly so that they could start training camp on time. "I let (agent Drew Rosenhaus) know that getting here on time was a priority," said Davis, who signed a five-year deal worth $26.5 million with $15.954 million guaranteed. "Make it happen." Iupati, who was the last draft pick to sign, inked a five-year deal. He said he wanted to get his deal done quickly because his goal is to take over the starting left guard spot from David Baas.

Both second-round pick Taylor Mays and third-round pick NaVorro Bowman signed four-year deals. Each of the rookies took a decidedly business-like approach to the offseason. Davis, Iupati and Mays, for instance, stayed in the Bay Area and worked out in the 49ers training facility every day. After work outs, Mays said he spent time in the film room, sometimes with position coaches Johnnie Lynn and Vance Joseph and sometimes by himself. Mays said he studied both NFL games as well as the 49ers spring drills to better understand what he needed to improve upon.

Arizona State receiver Kyle Williams spent must of his time in Arizona. He said he worked on punt returns with former NFL kicker Tom Rouen. The 42-year-old gave the rookie plenty of insight on what a punter is thinking and the different ways he can boot the ball. "He's been in the league forever," Williams said. "He told me a lot about what punters are going to do. He's about 100 years old, but he can still do it."

One of Williams' competitors for punt-return job this year is another rookie, LeRoy Vann. Vann said he didn't have the benefit of a real punter - he used a JUGGS machine - but he stayed in Santa Clara to get used to the wind that vexed him at times during OTAs. Vann estimated he fielded between 800 and 900 punts over the last month.

- Matt 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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