SANTA CLARA — Drake Jackson didn’t let shoulder pain keep him off the 49ers’ practice field Sunday, and it sure didn’t spoil his NFL debut in Friday’s preseason opener.
“I loved it. It felt crazy being out there, just being in the NFL and being on the field. I felt like I’m back,” Jackson, the 49ers’ top draft pick this year, said Sunday.
Jackson certainly flashed his athleticism, both with a pass rush that impacted Jordan Love’s throws and with speed that chased down Green Bay’s scrambling quarterback in the 28-21 win.
“Those things he did translate to us winning games,” defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said. “We’re expecting even more out of him. Good first outing, for a lot of our rookies.”
Even though Jackson had to exited after making that second-quarter tackle with what was deemed a shoulder stinger, he participated in team drills during Sunday’s hour-long, no-pads practice. He said his shoulder is improving daily.
“I’m happy with where Drake is,” Ryans added. ” The things we saw him do in college, he’s showing them on the practice field and in the game a couple of days ago.”
“He’s explosive for such a young guy, a physical and athletic freak,” offensive tackle Colton McKivitz said. “He’s got good edge and good hands.”
Jackson is so athletic that he’s become an expert in backflips, tracing that skill to his trampoline days as a kid. “But I can’t really go how I used to go, because my body is way more precious,” Jackson said.
Could a flip be his signature sack dance? “If I don’t get penalized, heck ya, I would do it every time,” Jackson added.
Jackson has some quality mentors. That includes fellow defensive end Nick Bosa, of whom Jackson said: “Each day, I’m watching him or I’m behind him in lines, trying to figure out what’s going on. Really, I take what he has and turn it into something for me, like maybe his swipes.”
Jackson also is learning from All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, with a goal in mind: “If someone beats Trent Williams, they can have fun in the league.”
Linebacker Fred Warner intercepted a Trey Lance pass that got tipped in the red zone drill to highlight the defense’s day in the 20-play team drills.
That came two plays after Lance found George Kittle with a touchdown pass. Also noteworthy: Deebo Samuel got blended more into the overall offense; team policy forbids the media from sharing where he or other players line up in closed-to-the-public practices.
The 49ers will hold a brief practice Monday morning before flying to Minnesota, where they’ll have joint practices with the host Vikings (and before fans) on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of Saturday’s preseason game.
McKIVITZ MAKING MOVES
A year ago, Colton McKivitz got cut after the preseason. It was kind of a surprising move considering he was a 2020 fifth-round draft pick who played 13 games and started three as a rookie.
Now he is the 49ers’ best backup tackle, and that means lining up this week in place of right tackle Mike McGlinchey, who came out of Friday’s preseason game with an irritated knee. McKivitz played right tackle at West Virginia except for one season at left tackle.
McGlinchey nor fellow lineman Daniel Brunskill (hamstring) practiced.
Reflecting on last summer’s cut, McKivitz said: “It was the biggest learning opportunity I’ve had in my career. It could have been over and I could have been filtering through other teams, but they had faith in me. I kept getting better and doing what (line coach Chris Foerster) teaches. It’s treating every day like it can be my last. I’ve learned how fast everything has to get done and the way they want it done here. I figured that out and now it’s trying to help other young guys.”
Helping sharpen McKivitz’s skills has been Bosa, mostly from scout-team work last season. “Don’t give him the inside, that’s all I’ve got to say,” McKivitz said.
Javon Kinlaw’s comeback from knee reconstruction saw him play 12 snaps in Friday’s opener and participate in Sunday’s practice.
“I was happy for him to knock off some rust and get back to playing football pain-free,” Ryans said. “With his physicality and his size, first and foremost, he’s a dominant run defender, when he’s playing his technique a proper way.
“But also, for his size (6-foot-5, 319 pounds), the guy can move. He can rush the passer. He’s not a one-dimensional player. That’s the most intriguing thing about Kinlaw: he can knock you back physically and he can get around guys with his athleticism.”
No. 2 tight end Charlie Woerner practiced in offensive drills after getting activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list. He had been rehabbing from core-muscle surgery. Woerner is a roster lock in his third season considering his ascent last year.
Who’ll be the No. 3 tight end behind him and George Kittle? Ross Dwelley is trying to fend off competitors Tyler Kroft, Tanner Hudson and Troy Fumagalli. Jordan Matthews sustained a season-ending knee injury early in camp.
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Author: Cam Inman