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May 10, 2013
Minicamp notes: Dial's injury means Okoye "starts" at defensive end


It turns out that four rookies are not taking part in the ongoing minicamp practices. Quinton Dial (toe) was standing next to fellow defensive lineman Tank Carradine (knee) throughout the practice. The others not practicing are running back Marcus Lattimore (knee) and offensive tackle Luke Marquardt (foot).

* There are only two quarterbacks at the session - draft pick B.J. Daniels and Nate Montana. Daniels also took some repetitions at running back early in the session and at punt- and kick returner later in the practice. He looked very natural running with the ball in his hands.

* From the no-duh department: Brit Lawrence Okoye is a project, a long-term project. But he certainly looked the part during today's minicamp. He's tall (6-6), long-armed and muscular. At the very least, he has the prototypical silhouette of a 3-4 defensive end. The question that will be answered over the next year or so is whether he has the demeanor and the drive. With Dial and Carradine out, Okoye was the de facto "starter" today. He certainly received a lot of repetitions and definitely was winded by the end of the 2 1/2-hour session. Prediction: He will be as sore as he's ever been in his life Saturday morning.

* The highlight of the day was the "box jump" drill during which the players first leaped, from a standing position, onto a 2 1/2- 3 1/2-foot-tall box. From there, they were told to immediately leap -- butt first -- onto a huge mattress. It was like watching 315-pound men do cannonballs into a pool. The most impressive leaper -- no surprise -- was Okoye, who got what can only be described as insane height for someone his size. He also excelled at the medicine ball toss at the end of practice, hurling it 18 yards behind him. That was about nine yards farther than anyone else. The tower at San Jose International is still wondering what was showing up on its radar around 5:30 p.m.

* Top draft pick Eric Reid looked as athletic and fluid as advertised. Of course, there is no hitting at this minicamp, so Reid couldn't show off one of his strongest qualities - that of the enforcer across the middle. But he looked good going in reverse and nearly came up with an interception on a crossing-pattern run by tight end MarQueis Gray. My first impression of Reid: He reminds me of another LSU safety, LaRon Landry.

* Tight end Vance McDonald stood out as a pass catcher. He also was the longsnapper during field-goal practice and looked very good at that as well.

* As expected, Quinton Patton stood out among the wide receivers. One of the knocks on him coming out of the draft is that he doesn't have deep speed. But he showed nice wheels on a couple of patterns, and he's in good shape.He also was among a large group of players given a chance to return kicks and punts.

Here's who was starting when the 49ers went into team drills:

QB: B.J. Daniels
RB: D.J. Harper
TE: Vance McDonald
WRs: Quinton Patton, Brandon Carswell
C: Al Netter
RG: Paytrick Omameh
RT: Kenny Wiggins
LG: Wayne Tribue
LT: Carter Bykowski
FB: Alex Debniak

NT: Michael Purcell
RDE: Lawrence Okoye
LDE: Dan Farr
OLBs Corey Lemonier, David Tuitupuo
ILBs: Nick Moody, Nate Stupar
Ss: Eric Reid, Michael Thomas
CBs: Marcus Cooper, Lowell Rose

-- 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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