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Standout players on Day 7 of 49ers Training Camp

Rohan Chakravarthi
Aug 3, 2023 at 5:43 PM--

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Day 7 of the San Francisco 49ers training camp is officially over, as it was a lighter practice following an off day Wednesday, as the team implemented a ton of play-action work, while several key players on either side of the ball rested.

The offense had a good day, as each of the quarterbacks played solid collectively, despite the absence of left tackle Trent Williams, left guard Aaron Banks, and running back Christian McCaffrey, amongst others.

Here were the standout players from Day 7, which I talked about in-depth when recapping the day of practice in our podcast down below.

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CB Samuel Womack

Working in a similar capacity as he has all training camp on the outside, Womack earns a spot on the "standouts" list after a pass breakup on Thursday, covering Deebo Samuel while with the first-team defense and taking away an underthrown pass from Brock Purdy that still had a chance to be caught.

As a cornerback, it's a positive day when you don't hear your name called, and that's been the case with Womack on a few occasions this camp, including Thursday, where he didn't allow a catch in coverage, while having a nice play against the top offensive unit.

Womack hasn't seen action yet in the nickel, as it seems the 49ers believe in him as their top backup cornerback, and he's beginning to look the part, filling out his frame more this offseason and stacking up some solid performances thus far in camp.

RB Ronald Awatt

We've heard about a number of standout running backs during the first week of training camp for the 49ers, as Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell, Tyrion Davis-Price, Jordan Mason, and Khalan Laborn have all seen strong days at some point thus far.

However, a name that has flashed at times and deserves some recognition is Ronald Awatt, another undrafted free agent signee for the 49ers at running back this offseason.

Usually buried on the depth chart, due to the number of talent players at the positon for the 49ers, Awatt saw some extended carries on Thursday, as McCaffrey had a veteran rest day, while Mitchell is out due to an injury, meaning the undrafted free agent worked in the rotation with Mason, Davis-Price, and Laborn.

As a result, Awatt had a number of solid carries on the day, moving fluidly and hitting the hole quickly, proving that the 49ers may have another NFL-caliber running back on their hands.

Perhaps it's a coincidence that it came on the day that he was the Rookie Hype Machine, but Awatt is another name to watch for the 49ers, and a likely practice squad candidate, should they be able to hold onto him past waivers.

LB Dee Winters

Like the running back room, the 49ers have a strong linebacker core, with intriguing names on the backend, suiting up for a competitive battle between several players at the position for the final few roster spots.

Dee Winters is amongst that mix, and added to his case for the 53-man roster with an impressive interception off Trey Lance during the move-the-ball period on Thursday, getting deep enough in the zone and jumping up for the catch.

Winters is a player who the 49ers thought highly of to draft him with their sixth-round pick this offseason, and figures to be in the mix for the final roster spot with fellow rookie Jalen Graham and veterans Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles and Curtis Robinson, as Marcelino McCrary-Ball is slowly inching himself towards a 53-man spot.

Winters has stacked solid days in coverage now, as he broke up a Sam Darnold ball in the redzone on Tuesday, nearly intercepting the pass, and earns himself a spot on the "standouts" list today with another good play.

TE Brayden Willis

The tight end battle behind George Kittle has been a slowly-forming competition, as there weren't really any standouts amongst the backups over the first few days of camp.

That appears to be changing.

Brayden Willis had himself a nice day on Thursday, getting open and seeing a multitude of targets, including a nice catch near the sideline on a pass from Trey Lance during the move-the-ball period.

He's been a trusty option in the flat, given his sticky hands, and has shown the potential of being a versatile chess piece for the 49ers down the line, especially if Kyle Juszczyk is no longer with the team next season.

Willis has arguably looked better than his rookie counterpart Cameron Latu, and has the edge over the backups, at least in the receiving department, after a solid day Thursday.

OL pass protection

I wanted to shout out a single player, but had to give credit to the entire offensive line for their pass protection on Thursday.

After consecutive days where they allowed six and eight sacks, respectively, the 49ers' offensive line responded with a strong performance on Day 7, not allowing a sack, despite missing star left tackle Trent Williams(scheduled rest day) and left guard Aaron Banks(concussion).

As a result, with Jaylon Moore's injury, Leroy Watson was bumped up from the third-string left tackle to the first-team offense, where he worked alongside a combination of Jasoe Poe and Nick Zakelj at left guard.

There were a few pressures on the day, but the 49ers' quarterbacks and offensive line worked in cohesion to avoid sack opportunities, leading to a strong and surprising day from the starting offensive line in the pass game.

Now, if they can develop some form of consistency, there would be much more optimism heading into the regular season, although it's important to note there was skepticism around the unit in 2022, which ended up being irrelevant as the 49ers had a top-ten offensive line, metrics wise.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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