Kalia Davis, Drake Jackson, Tyrion Davis-Price and more


OK, it’s an unofficial award, but sixth-round pick Kalia Davis won the A Award for Honesty at the San Francisco 49ers rookie minicamp this week.

Davis made an unusual positional change in Central Florida from linebacker to defensive tackle, and was asked Friday how he transformed his body to handle the rigors of playing in the trenches.

The implication: Davis bulked up by lifting weights. Reality: Davis got stronger by lifting utensils.

“Well, really, I went from linebacker to D-line because my body was changing,” Davis said with a smile. “I was gaining a little too much weight.”

Davis, who was 6-foot-1 and 302 pounds at the NFL combine, likely needs his weight more evenly distributed in the NFL.

NFL.com’s pre-draft scouting report noted that Davis’ “conditioning issues” surfaced in the second half of games and quoted an AFC director of scouting, who hit the same note: ” A team needs to put him on a proper nutrition and conditioning plan so he can be a 60-minute pro. This is the next step, because he has a lot of talent.

That talent is why the 49ers took some kind of sixth-round flyer on Davis, the 220th pick who is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in October after opting out of the season. 2020 due to the pandemic.

Perhaps a big-man appetite forced Davis’ switch, but the 49ers were intrigued because he retained his small-man movement abilities in his new place. Davis suggested the transition would have been seamless if he hadn’t had to take a three-point position for the first time in his football career.

“I had the athletic ability and I already had the physicality,” Davis said. “So just taking that position together is what really made me the D-line player that I am today.”

Davis was in rehabilitation on a side court, running with a resistance band, during Friday’s practice, the only of three sessions that was open to the media during rookie minicamp. However, general manager John Lynch said Davis could start the regular season on the list of players physically unable to perform. That makes sense given the severity of his injury, the depth of the 49ers defensive line and the need for Davis to transform his body much differently than he did in college.

Other notes and observations from the rookie minicamp:

Exhausted edge rusher: Fifteen and two.

It wasn’t a great combination for the 49ers’ first draft pick, USC point rusher Drake Jackson, who crisscrossed the country visiting 15 teams before the draft.

This travel schedule likely had an impact on his training schedule. And that seemed to be the case on Friday when Jackson was one of two defensive linemen put through their paces in individual drills by high-intensity position coach Kris Kocurek.

With a few breaths, the second-round pick was clearly gassed at the end, repeatedly putting his hands on his helmet to catch his breath.

Big back: Third-round rookie pick Danny Gray is the 49ers’ fastest wide receiver. And the 49ers’ other third-round pick, Tyrion Davis-Price, is their biggest running back.

Davis-Price, who played at 225 pounds last year at LSU and weighed 211 pounds at the combine, expects to hover around 222 pounds as a rookie.

Davis-Price highlighted his physique and height.

“I love the touch,” he said. “The defenders, they don’t want that. They don’t like it. So I’m just ready to take this to that next level and show what I can do.

Stand straight: The 49ers invited 13 players to a minicamp on a trial basis. One guest who stood out: Missouri wide receiver Keke Chism.

Chism, 6-foot-5 and 214 pounds, looks the part of the NFL. And he looked like one when he made the most impressive catch in practice on Friday: he flew up to hook a seemingly overturned deep pass to his top along the right sideline.

Chism’s height is combined with an impressive vertical leap (36.5 inches on his pro day), but his 40-yard run-up (4.69 seconds) helps explain why he didn’t land an agent contract. free after the repechage. Chism had 71 catches for 905 yards and three touchdowns in his two seasons at Missouri.

The road back: Only one of the 49ers’ 13 tryouts was a former draft pick: tight end Troy Fumagalli, 27, was a fifth-round draft pick by the Broncos in 2018.

Fumagalli spent last season on the Patriots’ injured reserve after having 14 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns in 19 games with the Broncos from 2019-20.

He will have to defy the odds to return to a list of 53 players, but he is used to winning. Fumagalli had his left index finger amputated days after birth due to a condition known as amniotic band syndrome.

“It happened at birth, so I don’t know any better,” Fumagalli told ESPN in 2016. “If you asked me if I imagined a finger on my left hand, I feel like it is in the sense of things. I wouldn’t want it there.

Two of the other 49ers tryouts have NFL playing experience: tight end Dan Brown, 29, and safety Doug Middleton, 28.

Return of the coach: The most encouraging news from Friday practice: linebackers coach Johnny Holland, 57, was back on the field.

Holland returned to his role after retiring shortly before the season opener last year due to the return of multiple myeloma. Holland was first diagnosed with plasma cell cancer in September 2019.

Holland was at the facility at the end of the 2021 season and participated in meetings, but he did not take part in practices.

“By sharing the details of my diagnosis,” Holland said shortly before leaving the team last year, “my desire is that I can be an advocate and a beacon of hope for those battling cancer. to help remind them that we are all in this together.

The ex-coach returns: The most intriguing news from practice on Friday: Vic Fangio was a spectator.

The former defensive coordinator for the 49ers (2011-2014) and head coach of the Broncos (2019-2021) does not have an official role with the team after discussing his role as a consultant in February. Fangio, 63, periodically visits the Bay Area and may drop by Santa Clara occasionally this offseason to stay connected to football in his first season without a coach at the NFL or college level since 1982.

Fangio is still being paid by the Broncos after being fired three years into his four-year, $20 million contract. If he’s interested in returning to the NFL as a coordinator, he would be a logical candidate to fill the vacancy should 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans become head coach after the season. Ryans declined a second interview for the Vikings head coaching opener this year.

In 2017, head coach Kyle Shanahan wanted to interview Fangio for his defensive coordinator opening, but Fangio couldn’t get out of his contract with the Bears.

Eric Branch covers the 49ers for The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: ebranch@sfchronicle.comTwitter: @Eric_Branch

Previous After playing Waverly, the Tewes brothers enjoy the next ride together - coaching the Vikings at the State Tournament | High school baseball
Next Wild In-Store Tour for Region 1 Spring Sports Teams | Sports