49ers Training Camp: Full 2016 Preview for San Francisco
Predicting Training Camp Winners
It’s a fun exercise to go ahead and predict who will win at training camp and cement their position as a starter prior to the start of the preseason.
Some of these picks are obvious, others not so much. Bear in mind this is largely guesswork and feel, and it is based on past performance, and the player’s performance in the OTAs and minicamp. It won’t include players who are currently injured or are currently rehabbing. Once they are healthy, they would replace the named player here. I will put an asterisk next to this player.
Left Tackle: Joe Staley
Left Guard: Zane Beadles
Center: Daniel Kilgore
Right Guard: Joshua Garnett* (once he signs his rookie contract)
Right Tackle: Trenton Brown
Running Back: Carlos Hyde
Fullback: None (not used in a Kelly offense)
Wide Receiver 1: Torrey Smith
Wide Receiver 2: Eric Rogers
Tight End: Garrett Celek
Slot Receiver: Bruce Ellington
Left Defensive End: Arik Armstead
Defensive Tackle: Mike Purcell*
Right Defensive End: DeForest Buckner
Outside Linebacker: Tank Carradine*
Inside Linebacker: Gerald Hodges
Inside Linebacker: NaVorro Bowman
Outside Linebacker: Ahmad Brooks
Left Cornerback: Tramaine Brock
Right Cornerback: Dontae Johnson
Nickel cornerback: Jimmie Ward
Strong Safety: Antoine Bethea
Free Safety: Eric Reid
Punter: Bradley Pinion
Kicker: Phil Dawson
Long Snapper: Kyle Nelson
Kick and Punt Returner: Bruce Ellington
Though the starters remain largely the same as 2015, the depth behind them is significantly improved for 2016. However the final 53-man roster pans out, the overall depth of the squad will be much better. It will be in a better position to adsorb injuries and suspensions to begin and throughout the season.
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It is this depth which should give us fans some hope for 2016. As Niner Noise’s Nicholas McGee says, with Kelly at the helm over the ineffective Tomsula, the offense and defense should be much improved:
"But 49ers followers should not completely despair, if things break as they should in 2016 then the defense stands to make strides and an improvement in the ground game can be expected. The strength of schedule has been exaggerated – particularly in the second half – and with Kelly at helm San Francisco should be substantially more competitive in 2016, which at this point is about the best the fans can hope for."
Let’s all hope for the best for training camp. Let’s hope for no new injuries, and we will see a much improved offense and defense being able to execute the game plan and their schemes and assignments.
Let’s also hope for a clear winner at QB and improvement from the career under-achievers on this squad.
Let training camp begin!
Next: San Francisco 49ers: 5 Reasons for Hope in 2016
All statistics, records and accolades courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Sports-Reference.com and 49ers.com unless otherwise indicated.