5. Gerald Hodges-Inside Linebacker
At 6-foot-2 inches and 236 pounds, linebacker Gerald Hodges has prototypical size for an inside linebacker. He checks all the boxes physically. But so far this preseason, he has been a disappointment.
After coming over from the Minnesota Vikings via trade last October, many thought Hodges would eventually be slotted in next to NaVorro Bowman at inside linebacker. However, he has failed to grasp hold of the opportunity presented him thus far.
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Through three preseason games, according to nfl.com, Hodges has only racked up a combined eight tackles. And although using stats in meaningless preseason games can be a little misleading, the eye test has not been much better.
The 49ers coaching staff was probably hoping for a little bit more athleticism, and a relentless, attacking style to pair next to Bowman. Michael Wilhoite, who started last season, has been unspectacular so far as well.
And although he had seven tackles against the Packers, he also missed covering a gap assignment on more than a few running plays, which allowed some sizable gains for the opposing running back.
Ray-Ray Armstrong has actually been the most productive so far in his limited role. And yet against the Packers, he allowed a big gain in coverage in the middle of the field for a first down.
He has also missed other coverage assignments and, from the look of things, is a little thin (220 pounds) when compared to the heavier Hodges and Wilhoite. Taking on blocks near the line of scrimmage, shedding them, and making the tackle is a must.
Prediction: Michael Wilhoite gets the nod, with Armstrong being the first option off the bench. Hodges drops to third string.
Next: 4. Eli Harold