No. 1: Defensive Lineman Ronald Blair
It’s been a trend with the new regime, as NFL Draft picks from former general manager Trent Baalke have not fared well under Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch.
The latest example, of course, was Eli Harold.
2016 fifth-round draft pick, Ronald Blair, might be the next to see his way out of San Francisco. Not necessarily to any fault of his own, Blair hasn’t exactly showcased his abilities to the tune of being indispensable. He’s had some flashy moments this preseason, sure. But so have fellow defensive linemen Sheldon Day and the rookie, Jullian Taylor.
Day is a likely lock to make the 53-man roster as a primary D-line backup and rotational player. Those are valuable, although the Niners probably won’t keep any more than three backup interior defenders: Day, Taylor and nose tackle D.J. Jones, who has looked every part the long-term replacement for incumbent starter Earl Mitchell.
Blair can rush from the edge, which increases his stock value. But it’s anyone’s guess if this will be enough to secure a roster spot this season.
An early guess would be San Francisco giving its other options along the D-line a chance over Blair. But if Blair winds up having a spectacular preseason effort in Week 4, he might be able to overtake someone like Taylor on the depth chart.
Even that isn’t totally ideal, though, as Taylor’s preseason efforts would open him up to a waiver claim before the Niners could place the promising seventh-round rookie on the practice squad.
Still, Blair needs to prove he’s a better option than Taylor to make the cut. And that will be tough to do.
The 49ers and Chargers kick off at 10 p.m. ET on Thursday, Aug. 30 from Levi’s Stadium.