Lance stands out on 49ers' practice field during minicamp


The 49ers’ first workout of rookie minicamp Friday resembled a pre-draft workout more than an NFL practice.

Regardless, quarterback Trey Lance showed the throwing skills that led the 49ers to invest the No. 3 overall pick in the North Dakota State product.

There was no pass rush during three periods of seven-on-seven drills, and Lance was on target nearly every time during the 75-minute practice.

After rookie running back Trey Sermon let an on-target pass from Lance skip through his hands on the first play, Lance connected on 11 consecutive passes against the seven-man defense.

He completed 19 of 24 pass attempts during Friday’s practice with mostly short and intermediate pass attempts.

The rookies reported to work on Wednesday. Since then, they’ve been cramming to learn the 49ers’ playbook.

“With any offense, football is football,” Lance said before the workout. “It’s an NFL playbook, so it's a lot. I’ve got a lot to learn for sure. But I also have great people around me, great coaches and obviously great guys in the quarterback room. So just looking forward to learning from them as much as I possibly can.”

Because there are only 23 players taking part in the rookie minicamp, there are not enough players for 11-on-11 work. The 49ers have four offensive linemen and no defensive linemen taking part in the camp.

RELATED: Novelty over Lance, who's ready to work

Here are some observations and notes from Friday’s practice:

-- Lance is the only quarterback taking part in the camp. He received a lot of attention from quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello before, during and after drills.

-- There were five players (the maximum allowed by the NFL) attending on a tryout basis: Wide receiver Marquise Lee (seven-year pro from USC), tight end Alex Ellis (third year, Tennessee), cornerbacks Adonis Alexander (second year, Virginia Tech), and KiAnte Hardin (rookie, Pittsburg State), and safety Blake Countess (fifth year, Auburn).

-- Lee appeared in 59 games (30 starts) with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he caught 174 passes for 2,184 yards and eight touchdowns.

He sustained knee injuries in 2018 and ’19. Lee signed with the New England Patriots last year, but opted out due to concerns over COVID-19. The Patriots released him in March.

Lance’s first competition came when Lee made a nice catch over the middle in traffic. Lee caught three passes during practice.

-- Rookie running back Elijah Mitchell showed nice skills as a pass-catcher. The sixth-round draft pick caught three passes in seven-on-seven drills, as he effortlessly secured the receptions with his hands.

-- Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir had the day’s only interception during a one-on-one period. Undrafted rookie receiver Austin Watkins Jr. slipped coming out of break. Lenoir had good coverage and picked off the pass from Lance.

-- Watkins had a difficult first day, slipping twice during one-on-one drills, and dropping another pass during seven-on-seven.

-- Hardin had a solid showing on the first day of his tryout. He appeared much more comfortable fielding punts than Ambry Thomas, the 49ers’ third-round pick from Michigan. Hardin also had good coverage deep against 2020 draft pick Jauan Jennings on a deep route that fell incomplete.

-- Joining Lee and Mitchell with three receptions apiece were undrafted rookie tight end Josh Pederson, Jennings and Ellis.

 -- The 49ers have two more days of practices scheduled during rookie minicamp. The final two days are not open to the media.

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