3 San Francisco 49ers who are already turning heads at OTAs

It's time to overreact a little bit to organized team activities.
San Francisco 49ers tight end Brayden Willis (9)
San Francisco 49ers tight end Brayden Willis (9) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

OTAs don't mean much, but these three 49ers seem to be starting off the offseason workouts on the right foot.

The San Francisco 49ers have started their second week of organized team activities, but only one session -- Wednesday, May 29 -- will be available to the media.

Only one session was available to the press last week, too, but there were some notable takeaways from these voluntary practice sessions. Some good, some bad.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan has repeatedly said OTAs don't matter much in the grand scheme of things, and the real competition doesn't begin until training camp later this summer.

That said, it's never a bad thing for a player to jump out to a good start.

Here are three who are doing just that.

No. 3: Tight end Brayden Willis

The Niners have no clear answer for their No. 2 tight end behind George Kittle, especially after watching both Charlie Woerner and Ross Dwelley depart via free agency. Sure, they inked veteran Eric Saubert and still have two second-year pros, Cameron Latu and Brayden Willis, on the roster.

But it's a very open-ended competition to back up Kittle.

According to Sports Illustrated's Grant Cohn, however, Willis seems to be making the leap of the remaining crop of candidates:

"[Willis is] clearly the second-best tight end on the roster. Cam Latu is still injured and Eric Saubert looks like a stiff, but Willis is extremely athletic and difficult to cover -- he can beat man-to-man coverage. Now we have to find out if he can block."

It's a good start for the 2023 seventh-round pick out of Oklahoma who primarily saw time on special teams last season.

No. 2: Cornerback Isaac Yiadom

Defensive backs are usually at a disadvantage during OTAs, which don't allow tackling and prevent press coverage to avoid contact.

That said, veteran cornerback Isaac Yiadom was another player who was singled out by Cohn for excelling during these padless practices:

"[Yiadom] started outside in the nickel defense and shut down a deep fade pass from Brock Purdy to Deebo Samuel. Yiadom is a significant upgrade over Ambry Thomas, who had been the 49ers' no. 3 cornerback at times the past two years."

San Francisco brought in Yiadom as a free agent to upgrade over Thomas, and the early indication is the former will accomplish just that.

No. 1: Wide receiver Ricky Pearsall

The 49ers' No. 1 pick from the NFL Draft, wide receiver Ricky Pearsall, has the advantage of playing plenty of first-team reps with fellow wideout Brandon Aiyuk skipping OTAs amid contract extension talks.

While that might be a source of pressure for the No. 31 overall pick, early indications are that Pearsall is relishing the moment and showcasing the reasons why Shanahan wanted him:

The longer Aiyuk holds out, the more opportunities Pearsall would get to be featured with the first-team offense. And those opportunities should translate into a quicker acclimation to life at the NFL level.

Again, it's early. And the true tests will be when the pads come on.

So far, though, these three are proving their value.

Read more from Niner Noise