Lock: Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, D.J. Jones, Javon Kinlaw, Solomon Thomas
Strong Bubble: Ronald Blair, Kerry Hyder, Jullian Taylor
Weak Bubble: Alex Barrett, Kevin Givens, Willie Henry Jr., Jonathan Kongbo, Kentavius Street
Long Shot: Darrion Daniels
The 49ers selected a defensive tackle in Round 1 of the NFL Draft for the fourth time in five years by grabbing South Carolina‘s Javon Kinlaw at No. 14 overall.
Kinlaw will look to fill the void left by defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, whom the Niners traded to the Indianapolis Colts last March. And while the transition is hopefully smooth, it’s likely San Francisco continues an interior rotation to keep the rookie fresh.
This is why another former first-round selection, Solomon Thomas, is a lock to make the roster despite having just six career sacks. Trading Thomas’ near-$9 million salary for 2020 would be tough, and there’s almost nothing gained by waiving him. So while the 49ers didn’t pick up his fifth-year option, Thomas will be in the plans this season.
Depth behind the likely starting cast gets interesting, though. Linemen Ronald Blair, Jullian Taylor and Kentavius Street are all coming back from injury, and the names behind them are relatively unproven commodities.
As of now, the D-line depth battles should be worth watching in training camp.