The two smartest 49ers? They might just be receivers Ricardo Lockette and Chad Hall, who have decided to spend their offseason alongside Colin Kaepernick, thereby guaranteeing themselves the most rigorous - and perhaps rewarding - few months of their lives.
Kaepernick, you see, is a bit of a train-a-holic.
The 49ers quarterback is experiencing meteoric (too soon?) popularity right now. He could have gone to the Grammy's and has an invitation to the Oscars. Jay Leno wants him on the set. Multiple authors are pitching book deals.
Partly to escape that onslaught of attention, Kaepernick instead has gone to Atlanta and the Competitive Edge Sports training facility. That's where he prepared for the 2011 draft (Connection: His Bay Area throwing coach, Roger Theder, used to work with quarterbacks there) and he currently spends his days training with NFL hopefuls.
Competitive Edge has has about 50 collegiate players who are pushing themselves like they never have before as they prepare for next week's scouting combine, their pro-day workouts next month and then the draft in April. There are about a dozen veteran players there as well, including Kaepernick, Lockette and Hall.
"A few of our veterans are easing into it," Competive Edge's Aaron Roberts said. "Colin, of course, is here all day, every day."
Roberts said that Kaepernick and the others train with the offensive linemen, who have a reputation as the hardest-working and most intense group at the facility. They arrive at 8 a.m. and take off in the late afternoon. Wednesdays's pool workouts are particularly tough. Imagine trying to swim in one direction while someone pulls on you -- via a harness and bungee cords -- from the opposite direction.
At minimum, Lockette and Hall promise to be in excellent shape when the 49ers reconvene for their offseason workouts. It's also worth noting that the 49ers have all sorts of questions at wideout. Only one receiver who caught a pass in 2012 - Michael Crabtree - is currently healthy and under contract for 2013, and the 49ers are looking for others to step forward.
Both Hall and Lockette are from Georgia. Hall ended the season on the active roster but did not catch a pass. Lockette, who is one of the fastest and most physically gifted 49ers, was on the practice squad. He is one of five 2012 practice squadders who declined an invitation to join another team's 53-man squad last season and decided to remain with the 49ers.
Another receiver, A.J. Jenkins, has not yet joined Kaepernick and the others but is expected to arrive soon.
- Matt Barrows