Bee staff writer Matthew Barrows hosted an online chat Wednesday about the 49ers. Here are some highlights:
DARRELL: Who's ahead: Quinton Patton or A.J. Jenkins?
BARROWS: No one has pulled ahead in the race to be the No. 2 wide receiver. In fact, you can envision a scenario (like last year) in which that No. 2 spot is handled by committee at the start of the season. The question: Who composes that committee?
CARLOS: Who's the best athlete on the team?
BARROWS: Vernon Davis? Ricardo Lockette? Larry Okoye? I don't know the best athlete doesn't necessarily mean a good football player.
GUEST: Is it a bad sign that so many vets are missing from OTAs?
BARROWS: I don't think so. Remember, the 49ers are a month and half behind most of the league as far as their offseason, with many vets still recovering from last season. I don't think Justin Smith is needed out there in June, and frankly, I don't think a newcomer like Anquan Boldin is needed, either. It's more important to give the A.J. Jenkins and Quinton Pattons as much playing time as possible.
GUEST: What's the word on Lawrence Okoye's progress or how he's looking in OTAs?
BARROWS: It's hard to say since everything is non-contact. It's been an ideal scenario for him, though. With Justin Smith, Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial out, Okoye has gotten a ton of reps in a non-contact scenario, which should help leading up to next month's training camp when the pads go on.
JD: Do you think Eric Reid is the Week 1 starter at free safety? Or are all the reports of his struggles in coverage that serious?
BARROWS: Struggles in coverage? Mmmm, that might be overblown after three weeks of OTAs. He looks the part and is being worked into the first-string defense. Every safety taken in the first round over the last three years has started in Week 1. I don't see any reason why it will be different for Reid and the 49ers.
ED: Is Justin Smith still limited?
BARROWS: Put it this way: If the 49ers were playing the Giants in the NFC Championship game on Sunday, Smith would start.
JAMES: Will LaMichael James have an increased role on offense, or will Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter keep him strictly on special teams?
BARROWS: If Gore and Hunter are both healthy, James would have a role, but it certainly wouldn't be an "increased" role.
JACK BAUER: I've read that Colin Kaepernick has been erratic in OTAs. Thoughts?
BARROWS: He looks exactly like he did last offseason. He's not the greatest practice player in the world. I wouldn't worry about Kaepernick misfiring or overthrowing in practice. He's a different player on Sundays.
EYEOFTHELIGER: How long before we hear Vernon Davis voice his frustration with not getting enough balls and the lack of connection with Kaepernick?
BARROWS: A long time. He's been the perfect soldier since 2008.