Very little can be learned over the first few days of 49ers training camp, yet these five players are already standing out well above the rest.
The first week of San Francisco 49ers training camp is nearly over. And it’s weird to think within less than two weeks, the Niners will take the field for their first preseason game of the 2022 season against the visiting Green Bay Packers.
However, at least in terms of the ramp-up period before the regular season, it’s still awfully early. A handful of practices won’t lead to any grand sweeping conclusions about risers or fallers on the roster, the bubble watch or whether or not quarterback Trey Lance has what it takes to cut it at the NFL level.
Yet there are some notable takeaways from the opening practices, and there are a number of players performing well early, too.
Full disclaimer, the bulk of players are on the defensive side of the ball, as coordinator DeMeco Ryans’ unit has been looking like the superior group the first week, and this is typical across most team camps, not just 49ers training camp.
Still, it’s been good to see these five, in particular, getting off to a hot start.
49ers training camp standout: Cornerback Charvarius Ward
Usually, the addition of one lone player to a position with as many bodies as cornerback won’t make a whirlwind of a difference, but the Niners are certainly experiencing that with their high-profile free-agent signing from this offseason, Charvarius Ward.
Ward, who frequently found himself defending on an island for the Kansas City Chiefs last year, has been excellent over the first week.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch explained further:
"The 49ers paid big money for the self-assured Ward, 26, in March in hopes that he can fix what was perhaps their biggest problem area last year. Due to injuries, inexperience and ineffectiveness, the 49ers led the NFL in pass-interference penalties, had the third-fewest pass breakups, allowed the fourth-highest completion percentage and had the fifth-fewest interceptions. The early returns on their $40 million investment? Ward has headlined the secondary as the defense dominated through three training-camp practices."
The addition of Ward helped solve a massive need, but his presence also serves to push down other solid defensive backs on the depth chart, effectively making the position much deeper than it was before.
And it appears as if thickening up the depth chart has made another one of the 49ers’ cornerbacks better, too.