San Francisco 49ers

49ers OTA observations: Competition on the offensive line

San Francisco 49ers offensive linemen Norman Price (63), Joshua Garnett (65) and Colin Kelly perform a drill during an NFL football practice in Santa Clara, Calif., Wednesday, June 8, 2016.
San Francisco 49ers offensive linemen Norman Price (63), Joshua Garnett (65) and Colin Kelly perform a drill during an NFL football practice in Santa Clara, Calif., Wednesday, June 8, 2016. AP

Reporters got their first look at a 49ers' full-team practice in 2017 on Tuesday. Here's what caught my eye:

* The 49ers have more competition along the offensive line than they've had in years. At right guard, for example, incumbent Joshua Garnett and newcomer Brandon Fusco both got 11-on-11 repetitions with the first-string offensive line. At center, it was Jeremy Zuttah and Daniel Kilgore; at right tackle it was Trent Brown and Garry Gilliam.

"You would like that at every position," Kyle Shanahan said. "Competition brings out the best in everyone. All we have to go off of is watching tape from what they’ve had in the past. We want to balance everyone out, give everyone opportunities at each position. We need to see for ourselves, doing what we’re asking them to do, the techniques and the schemes and find out what the best place is for guys. There’s a number of guys we’re moving around.”

Zuttah had to be helped up after appearing to pull a leg muscle early in the team session. He was replaced by Kilgore for the remainder of practice. Zuttah was on his feet for the rest of the session and his injury does not appear serious. ... Garnett, who mostly played left guard at Stanford but right guard with the 49ers last year, is taking snaps at both spots this offseason.

* The first-team defense mostly has not changed since last month's minicamp. The exception was that Arik Armstead, who was still recovering from shoulder surgery last month, lined up at the "Leo" defensive end spot Tuesday. He recorded a "sack" at one point when he got around Gilliam at right tackle.

* DeForest Buckner was next to Armstead at defensive tackle, Earl Mitchell played nose tackle and Tank Carradine was the so-called "big end." That's the spot first-round draft pick Solomon Thomas likely will play on base downs this year. Neither Thomas nor undrafted receiver Kendrick Bourne are permitted to attend the ongoing practices because their schools are still in session. Otherwise, the 49ers had perfect attendance Tuesday.

* The first-string linebackers were NaVorro Bowman (Mike), Malcolm Smith (Will) and Ahmad Brooks (Sam). Eli Harold was back at practice after a toe issue kept him out of minicamp. He mostly took snaps at Sam linebacker with the second-team defense.

* The first-string secondary consisted of cornerbacks Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson and safeties Eric Reid and Jimmie Ward. K'Waun Williams got most of the nickel cornerback repetitions with the first-team defense. Third-round pick Ahkello Witherspoon lined up at right cornerback with the second-team defense. Seventh-round pick Adrian Colbert played left cornerback with the third-team unit.

* Among the rookies, slot receiver Trent Taylor had a big day, especially during 7-on-7 sessions when he was a favorite target of the quarterbacks. “Trent’s a guy who is very good at separating," Shanahan said. "He’s very quick. He’s a very tough player. His feet are usually under him. So, he always can make a couple moves in a short area which is a quality that a lot of people look for in a slot receiver."

* Undrafted safety Lorenzo Jerome also stood out among the rookies. After coming up with a leaping interception in the 49ers' rookie minicamp, Jerome came away with another Tuesday on a tipped pass from quarterback C.J. Beathard that was intended for receiver Victor Bolden. On the next play, Smith nearly had his own interception on a pass over the middle.

* Jerome and fellow undrafted rookie Chanceller James were the third-team safeties. Vinnie Sunseri (free) and Jaquiski Tartt (strong) are the second-team safeties.

* One of the standouts Tuesday was backup defensive tackle Chris Jones, who was seen hustling from sideline to sideline whenever he was in the game. Jones also looked quick against the run, on one play jumping into the backfield to grab rookie runner Matt Breida behind the line of scrimmage. BRunning backs Kapri Bibbs and Tim Hightower both broke long runs down field.

* Shanahan said the 49ers were a little smoother on Monday than they were on Tuesday when there were a couple of broken plays and instances where the 49ers had to go back to the huddle and line up again. Quarterback Brian Hoyer started out strong, hitting his first three pass attempts including a nice crossing-route throw to receiver Marquise Goodwin.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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