No roster is set in stone entering any training camp. Niner Noise takes a look at five positions up for grabs on the San Francisco 49ers roster entering the 2018 training camp.
Entering last year’s training camp, the San Francisco 49ers roster was completely revamped. With a new general manager and head coach, no player really had a footing over another.
We saw wide receiver Jeremy Kerley get cut after signing a three-year extension because, according to John Lynch (h/t 247sports.com), “Once we got Trent Taylor in that slot position and saw that Trent could handle it and handle it right away, we said it was going to be hard at that point for Jeremy to make the roster.”
This year will be a little different. After one year of shaping the roster how they want, Lynch, Kyle Shanahan and Co. won’t be as likely to make such drastic moves like that. No major players will get cut from the roster unexpectedly, barring any surprises.
That doesn’t mean that the depth chart is set in stone. As optimistic as you can be about this year’s team, it’s not like the 49ers are chock-full of Pro Bowlers and All-Pros lining up their team. There are several positions that could be upgraded or improved from last year’s squad.
There are a lot of reasons why a starter might suddenly see his grip on a starting spot loosen. For starters, he may get injured, allowing the possibility of another player showcasing himself. We saw this last year with safety Adrian Colbert taking over after Jimmie Ward got injured, basically playing himself into the starting spot this year.
Another possibility is that the backup just starts outplaying the starter or just has more talent than the starter. We saw this with the 49er quarterback situation last year. First, quarterback Brian Hoyer got outplayed by C.J. Beathard, resulting in Hoyer’s benching. After the 49ers traded for fellow QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Jimmy G’s pure talent just caused the 49ers to make a switch.
The next slides will only mention five positions that are up for grabs. That isn’t to say that other positions might become more available, or that there might be some pleasant surprises that alter the Niners’ plans this year.
These are the five positions I think currently have no established starter, or the backups are talented enough to make a major push for the starting spot. At the end, I’ll predict who’ll be the starter entering Week 1.