SANTA CLARA – Tank Carradine and Jimmie Ward showed up at new positions on the 49ers’ practice field Tuesday as the club opened organized team activities.
In recent weeks, general manager Trent Baalke said that Carradine would be used as an edge rusher in the 49ers sub packages and Ward would see more action at safety.
But, instead, Carradine saw most of his work at right outside linebacker and Ward was lined up at right cornerback. Ward, the starting nickel back in his first two NFL seasons, moved inside to cover slot recievers against multi-receiver sets during the team's first 11-on-11 work of the offseason program.
Ward was the 49ers’ first-round pick in 2014. Carradine was a second-round selection in 2013.
Carradine spent his first 2 ½ NFL seasons trying to put on weight to be able to handle the duties of a defensive tackle. Last season, the 49ers determined he was playing out of position.
“Toward the middle of last year, we switched that put him more in the nickel type role and you saw him start to progress as the season went on,” Baalke said in March. “So I think you can expect to see him lighter, playing more in the four-man fronts than the three-man fronts and being a strong contributor in that role.”
Ward finished last season strong as a nickel back. In 2014, the 49ers drafted defensive backs Ward, Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser and Kenneth Acker. This year, the 49ers added to their cornerback competition with the selections of Will Redmond, Rashard Robinson and Prince Charles Iworah.
--Fullback-turned-tight end Bruce Miller saw action in the slot as part of an offense that typically deploys one-back sets.
“He’s just a good football player,” 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert said. “He’s always been a great football, and whatever the team needs Bruce to do, he’s willing to do it. Whether that’s playing fullback, whether that’s catching the football out of the backfield, getting in the slot now and playing his tight end role, and he’s been doing a wonderful job.”
---The 49ers’ first-team offensive line consisted of:
Left tackle-Joe Staley
Left guard-Zane Beadles
Right guard-Brandon Thomas
Right tackle-Erik Pears
Rookie Joshua Garnett, whom the 49ers traded back into the first round to select at No. 28 overall is not eligible to attend the team’s offseason program until the Stanford quarter concludes.
Trent Brown, who is expected to compete for the starting job at right tackle, ran with the No. 2 line, along with right guard Andrew Tiller, center Marcus Martin, left guard Ian Silberman and left tackle Colin Kelly.
--The 49ers’ first-team defensive line consisted of:
Left defensive tackle-Arik Armstead
Nose tackle-Mike Purcell
Right defensive tackle-Quinton Dial
The second unit was left tackle Kaleb Ramsey, nose tackle Garrison Smith and right tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie.
First-round draft pick DeForest Buckner lined up at right defensive tackle with a reserve unit. Ian Williams has not reported for the offseason program and he continues to go through rehabilitation in Florida.