Vernon Davis practices “exclusively” with receivers at minicamp


When 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh insisted that the replacement for Michael Crabtree (Achilles) would come from the current roster, it was presumed that the replacement would be a receiver.

As it turns out, the Niners could be thinking about using tight end Vernon Davis as a wideout while Crabtree recovers.

According to Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Davis participated “exclusively” as a receiver during the team’s recent mandatory minicamp.

While plenty of tight ends line up in the slot these days, Davis could actually be lining up wide — especially since Anquan Boldin is expected to be San Fran’s primary inside receiver.

Davis, a top-10 draft pick in 2006, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at the Scouting Combine.  So he definitely has the speed to play on the outside.  He also has the size to fight off press coverage, and to manhandle most cornerbacks who would try to get to the ball before him.

33 responses to “Vernon Davis practices “exclusively” with receivers at minicamp

  1. Intriguing idea but I’d keep him near the line of scrimmage….the dude can block and they have a stable of RB’s and a QB that likes to run. He may not put up monster #’s in the system but he’s seems to me to be a key piece in it.

  2. Could open the door for rookie Vance McDonald to get a lot of starting time.

    This also is not a good sign for AJ Jenkins who has, for all but one day, been very unremarkable and ho-hum in trying to separate himself from 4th round Quinton Patton and a slough of other other receivers.

  3. Further proof the 49ers WR core is in bad shape. Only a 49er fan in denial can’t see the writing on the wall.

  4. If this is true it will go two completely different ways. Either this is as stupid of a move as you can make, taking one great asset in a position and making him average at best in another position, or it could explode into a remarkable mismatch for corners not on the Seahawks roster. Don’t find too many corners who are large enough and quick enough to cover a TE like Davis. That being said, put Davis in his comfort zone of dominating the TE position and a ground and pound offense of running the ball. Don’t change what’s not broken.

  5. This could work asing as Davis can get separation from CBs and if the Rookie Vance can play TE half as well as Davis. IDK maybe we should think about going after a WR? Kenny Britt? Or sign B. Llyod? Kap and Crabs had great chemistry last season. I’m worried that Kap might digress without him unless Jenkins and Patton can truly emerge. Red and Gold Faithful who is just slightly concerned but in Haurbaugh we trust!

  6. They’re not changing his position, just figuring out what packages they’re going to use him out wide. The 49ers will be one of the leagues most run heavy teams.

  7. He’ll probably catch a few while lining up on the outside
    I’m willing to bet its all about looks….. Different formations and looks
    Keep the opponent guessing … Watch what teams do to try and match up. MDO7117 said it first

  8. Davis is a solid and versatile TE but he’ll have some trouble catching balls on the outside. His hands are average for a TE and below average for a WR.

  9. The pressure of Vernon in motion or in the slot on safeties is intriguing, especially if McD can continues the encouraging development he has been showing. Vernon is arguably the best blocker of the leagues starting TEs, so this move would hardly be exclusive or permanent. It’s interesting that no one else has reported this, which would be a major coup for Mr Florio if it is indeed the direction Harbaugh chooses. One thing you can always expect with these 9ers is the unexpected. Versatility and flexibility is how you beat great defenses. Power beats the rest.

  10. Giving him extra practice time to get used to a new position doesn’t mean he’ll actually play that position full time. It just gives them another offensive trick up their sleeve . . . a pretty good trick.

  11. I think it’s just getting Vernon more reps there to broaden his capabilities even more.

    Everything I’ve heard from 49er camp is AJ is finally starting to impress, and very little about Patton.

  12. Let’s hope they mix it up
    Play Vernon outside and inside
    But, target him a lot more than in the past
    Also hoping for big things from WR AJ Jenkins

  13. Exclusively at WR? They’re getting reps for McDonald early, that’s all. Everyone knows VD has great straight ahead speed but not much of a route runner…gets open v LB isolation, and some safeties. He won’t be open against good corners. To put him there takes away his mismatch opportunities.

    Think Grant Cohn saw something no one else did at camp?Anything coming from this guy needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt. Terrible blog. There are way too many quality writers in the Bay Area covering the 49ers to waste your time with a guy that knows very little about the game and got his job because his daddy has worked at the paper forever. Its not all bad, though…His newspaper articles do make for good bird cage liner…

  14. I think this is just JH being creative. Clearly VD has mastered the TE position and that will be his primary role in the offense. But why not utilize his leadership and freakish physical attributes from the WR position periodically to raise the level of competition at that position and to create obvious miss-matches on the field. I doubt he gets more than 15% of his snaps in a game at WR, but when he does, it will clearly be designed to throw off the opposing defense.

  15. I had Davis last year on my fantasy team for a few weeks, he’s average at best, not a game changer, Look for the 49ers to slide down the division next year as the Hawks step up and Arizona and St. Louis improve.

  16. The last thing VD did in a football game was run his mouth to Ray Lewis during his last game. bad idea Vernon

  17. this could be a really interesting prospect. With David’s speedhe could run up there with the db’s. might be good but not great, but one on one with most Dbs, they are going to have an extremely hard time bring him down. Would almost force teams to double him. if not he will be breaking a lot of tackles and running free. so with just a little space he could break for a huge gain. not many people are going to catch him from behind, not everybody has Patrick Willis…

  18. Funny how not a single one of the many quality 49er beat writers mentioned this … but Grant Cohn did. That kid has no idea what is going on, and PFT just regurgitated his clueless crap. Sorry, but this reeks of BS.

  19. I have been watching Vernon play since days at Dunbar High in DC. No matter where you put him, he will be productive and explosive! It doesn’t matter how or where he gets the ball…as long as he gets it!

  20. Sounds nice but regardless of where you line him up you have to target this guy coach. He had less than 50 catches last season, he’s in his prime and should easily get 75 now that Crabtree is down.

  21. This is great!! It just to give him different looks and prepare him for lining up at every position. This will just help put defenses off balance especially if Vance is coming along like they say in camp.. Smart move he has lined up as reciever in games before.. This is just to get him comfortable in all phases of recieving game.. GO NINERS!! HATERS KEEP OFF.. That’s you Seattle fans!

  22. As long time Niner and a believer in Jim Harbaugh, I have to say 1) they’re doing it for a reason and 2) knowing Harbaugh, I wouldn’t put too much stock into what happens in minicamp. You can gossip all you want if this is a regular occurence in pre-season and training camp. My guess is he was there to mentor some of the younger guys in the receiving corps.

  23. It makes sense to create the best possible matchups across the board. If you have Boldin and Davis lined up on the line of scrimmage they are big and strong enough to shrug off press coverage and jams. that allows someone like Mario Manningham or Kyle Williams to line up off the line in the slot and take advantage of their speed.

    It will also force teams into nickel if you don’t want to try and cover the slot guy with a safety or backer, and that means that a team that runs the ball well is going to have two very solid down field blockers on the outside.

    I’m not certain that it is something that you do every down, but it will give even more formations to help keep them from tipping their hand on what they are going to do.

  24. The last thing VD did in a football game was run his mouth to Ray Lewis during his last game. bad idea Vernon. Go ask Tammy Brady. Now you’re talking NFL football.

  25. @sampsonswag01 says: Jun 19, 2013 9:48 AM
    This also is not a good sign for AJ Jenkins who has, for all but one day, been very unremarkable and ho-hum in trying to separate himself from 4th round Quinton Patton and a slough of other other receivers.

    Jenkins will make a significant contribution this year (he will at least match Moss’s numbers from last year)
    panthrobro says: Jun 19, 2013 10:02 AM

    Further proof the 49ers WR core is in bad shape. Only a 49er fan in denial can’t see the writing on the wall….

    How are they in bad shape? Because they have a versatile TE that they can do multiple things with?
    You may not know this but he also lines up in the back field, does that mean that they don’t have a running game?

    @savagedolfan says: Jun 19, 2013 10:08 AM
    They are not making him a WR, he’s just working at that position.

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