5 training camp storylines to watch for the 49ers in 2019

SANTA CLARA, CA - JULY 30: Mike Person #78 and Joe Staley #74 of the San Francisco 49ers participate in drills during practice at the San Francisco 49ers training facility on July 30, 2011 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JULY 30: Mike Person #78 and Joe Staley #74 of the San Francisco 49ers participate in drills during practice at the San Francisco 49ers training facility on July 30, 2011 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers Week 17 position grades
LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 30: Nickell Robey-Coleman #23 of the Los Angeles Rams is unable to defend against a touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne #84 of the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of a game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 30, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

No. 5: How will the wide receiver room turn out?

When the 49ers took South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel in the 2019 NFL Draft, it was expected. He fit the system, and the Niners need a strong receiver along with second-year pro Dante Pettis. When the Niners took Jalen Hurd later, people got surprised. Heading into the season, the 49ers now have a bevy of wide receivers, who they cannot all keep.

This is only amplified with the number of running backs the 49ers are also planning to carry. Counting fullback Kyle Juszczyk, the Niners have five main backs, and they don’t seem keen on releasing any of them. That leaves less space on the 53-man roster for the wide receivers.

But let’s just go ahead and say the Niners will carry six wide receivers, standard across the league. Pettis, Samuel and Hurd are all locks for the roster, if only because of the draft capital invested. Marquise Goodwin isn’t exactly a lock, but his top-end speed gives him a much-needed leg up in any competition.

That leaves two spots available for a bevy of wide receivers.

Kendrick Bourne, Jordan Matthews, Richie James Jr. and Trent Taylor are the primary competitors for these two spots. Bourne provides much needed size at the wide receiver position and was one of the few contributors last year at wide receiver. James sparked the Niners with his kick-return touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks but didn’t produce much except in the preseason. Taylor struggled last year with a back injury, diminishing his value after a strong rookie season as a safety net for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. And finally, Matthews came in as a free agent, bringing red-zone prowess, size and a breath of fresh air to the position group.

If I had to make a prediction about who makes the cut, I would say it’s Bourne and Taylor, but at this point, no one can know for sure. One thing we do know, they’re going to have some great coaching.

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