SANTA CLARA -- The competition for the No. 2 job behind starting quarterback Alex Smith will be a race worth watching when 49ers training camp opens in late-July.Through the first two days of the 49ers' mandatory minicamp this week, second-stringer Colin Kaepernick struggled with his accuracy more than any of the team's quarterbacks.But the second-round draft pick of a year ago rebounded Thursday with a strong closing day. Kaepernick had several outstanding throws, including a 30-yard pass to undrafted rookie Brian Tyms that he fit between two defenders."Colin had a near-perfect day," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said, adding that he charted Kaepernick with one incompletion and two dropped passes.Kaepernick figured to be up against strong competition for the backup job from Josh Johnson, whom the 49ers signed as a free agent. But Scott Tolzien might have been the most consistent of the team's three backup quarterbacks during the 49ers' mandatory minicamp.Smith, meanwhile, has left no doubt where he ranks on the depth chart."Alex definitely separated himself further than what he was, which was a lot coming out of the season," Harbaugh said. "He's the solid starter. I don't think anybody questions that."Harbaugh reiterated that he believes all four quarterbacks on the 49ers' 90-man roster will play a long time in the NFL.The 49ers also feel blessed with significant depth at wide receiver -- unlike a year ago.
When asked if Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss separated themselves as the starters, Harbaugh took the opportunity to mention every receiver who has practiced during the offseason. Harbaugh did not mention Ted Ginn, who did not participate in the offseason practices as he returns to full strength while rehabbing a right knee injury."Both of those guys worked extremely hard and are outstanding teammates," Harbaugh said of Moss and Crabtree. "Everybody loves being around them. If you ask anybody around them, A-plus-plus, the way they worked."But Harbaugh did not stop there, saying:
--Mario Manningham "really surged on in this camp as he's gotten to know system."
--Kyle Williams continues to elevate his game and his play spiked during the minicamp.--Brett Swain and Joe Hastings continue to improve their play from a year ago.--First-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins, as well as undrafted rookies Nathan Palmer, Tyms and Chris Owusu comprise an outstanding crop of young receivers."The young guys showed really good flashes," Harbaugh said. "Even more sure now than when we had the first rookie minicamp, this is the best group of rookie receivers ever been around. Now we're sure of that."