With the first week of 49ers OTAs in the books, Niner Noise looks at what happened during the practices and what was particularly noteworthy.
They may have little to no significance in the broader realm of the season, but it sure is good to see the San Francisco 49ers on the field again.
OTAs are essentially walkthroughs. No tackling, no pads and not even mandatory to attend. So if you’re looking for an earthshattering take, you’ll be disappointed.
But that doesn’t mean there’s absolutely nothing to take away from these initial OTAs, especially where undrafted free agents are concerned. They have to take advantage of every opportunity they can to be able to impress the coaches and have a chance of making the team.
So it makes sense to highlight one of those players right now.
49ers takeaway No. 1: Jordan Mason is drawing attention at running back
The Niners’ running back room will be looking very different this season, with Elijah Mitchell now entrenched as the lead back despite being only a sixth-round selection last year. All the more notable are two Day 2 picks in Trey Sermon and Ty Davis-Price, who will be his backups.
So you wouldn’t think an undrafted free agent would take the early attention, but former Georgia Tech running back Jordan Mason is catching the eye for all the right reasons.
Mason has shone as a receiving back both in the rookie minicamp and in the first week of OTAs. He’s a good size at 5-foot-11 and 223 pounds, and he has the speed to run away from defenders.
San Francisco hasn’t exactly had a premier receiving back, which could be a very handy weapon for the offense, given the tendency to use misdirection, play-action plays and screens in the passing game. The 49ers have a good history of getting running backs off the scrapheap or from the undrafted ranks to make an impact, and Mason could very well be the latest example of this.
How Mason looks later in the preseason will be interesting, but he’s certainly turned heads.