Takeaway No. 2: Drake Jackson and Spencer Burford look physically ready to make a jump in their second year
One of the things to look out for when players finally get back onto the field in OTAs is to see which guys have been living in the weight room and putting some muscle on their frame. This is especially true for younger players who are still transitioning to life in the NFL.
For EDGE Drake Jackson and guard Spencer Burford, both seem to be the ones that most resemble this early one, as Sports Illustrated's Grant Cohn highlighted the physical progression of both:
"(Drake Jackson) Looks like a completely different person than he did last year as a rookie. Back then, he looked like a flabby college player who might wear a t-shirt in the swimming pool. Now, he looks like a five-year veteran with a grown man's body. That's great news for the 49ers, because they need Jackson to take a huge leap and start opposite Nick Bosa, So far, so good.- Grant Cohn
(Spencer Burford) Also looks like a completely different person than he did last year as a rookie. Last season, Burford had an impressive year for such a young player, but still looked lean and light -- almost too light to play guard in the NFL. Now, he looks much bigger and stronger. Which means the weakest link on the offensive line from a year ago could be a strength now."
This is obviously good news on both sides of the trenches. The 49ers are without an obvious starter at EDGE opposite Nick Bosa, so the physical development of Jackson will hopefully allow him to break out in 2023 with the stacked defensive front drawing away attention.
Meanwhile, Burford looks to be another later-round steal in the draft if his play last season is any indication, and improving his strength will go a long way to him progressing some more.