Kelly praises Simpson, WR competition ‘really wide open'


SANTA CLARA -- Behind Torrey Smith, the 49ers have a dearth of wide receivers who have experienced success in the NFL.

Jerome Simpson's up-and-down career gives the 49ers the second-most production on the team's depth chart.

Coach Chip Kelly has been impressed by Simpson, who appears to be making the most of the chance the organization gave him to resuscitate a career from multiple suspensions.

"It's really wide open," Kelly said on Tuesday morning. "Besides Torrey, let's find out who the other playmakers are at that wide receiver position."

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Simpson made his mark on the practice field Monday when he got behind cornerback Dontae Johnson to catch a long touchdown pass from quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

"He probably runs around like the youngest in that group," Kelly said. "It's amazing to see how he runs. Obviously, he's extremely fast, but just the energy and the amount of juice he has through the entire practice."

Kelly said Simpson's NFL experience shows.

"It shows in a lot of different ways. I've come in here on Saturday and he's had three or four different receivers out there in the spring catching tennis balls. He's just a consummate professional in terms of his work ethic and his approach."

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