San Francisco 49ers: 3 early position battles to watch in 2020

Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne #84 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne #84 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina Gamecocks
Javon Kinlaw #3 of the South Carolina Gamecocks (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers brought in five rookies via the 2020 NFL Draft, along with a blockbuster trade, which make for some enticing position battles in training camp.

Last year, the San Francisco 49ers made EDGE Nick Bosa the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, which in turn made that year’s fight for roles along the defensive line one to watch leading up to the regular season.

This year, Bosa’s role is solidified. Now it’s time for another rookie Niners defensive lineman, South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw, to carve out an important niche within San Francisco’s still-elite defensive line.

Kinlaw marked the first of five 2020 NFL Draft selections general manager John Lynch and Co. brought aboard:

  • Round 1: DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
  • Round 1: WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
  • Round 5: OL Colton McKivitz, West Virginia
  • Round 6: TE Charlie Woerner, Georgia
  • Round 7: WR Jauan Jennings, Tennessee

Some of these players, such as Woener, will fill niche roles for head coach Kyle Shanahan this season. Woener, who wasn’t a receiving threat with the Bulldogs, has an excellent blocking pedigree for the position and will look to fill the void left by veteran tight end Levine Toilolo, who departed via free agency for the New York Giants.

Yet the other additions, as well as those undrafted free-agent signings, prompt some likely heated position battles between now and the start of the 2020 regular season.

Granted, this offseason will be different in relation to COVID-19 and the ripple effect soon to come. It’s hard to predict how minicamps, OTAs and training camps will come together.

But when these events do arrive, you’ll want to keep an eye on these three position battles, which seem to be the favorites to watch with the 2020 draft now complete.