49ers Linebacker: Primary Backup Duties to the Big Three
Linebacker is one position the Niners worry little about in 2020, at least in terms of the starting trio of Kwon Alexander, Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw.
Greenlaw’s ascent last season in the wake of Alexander’s elongated pectoral injury is a primary reason why. And while it’ll be interesting to see how the starting pecking order — determining who plays at MIKE, WILL and SAM — pans out between now and Week 1, San Francisco should take a lot of comfort knowing it has playmakers set at all three spots regardless.
What about the depth behind these three, though?
Azeez Al-Shaair earned the primary reserve duties a year ago. And while he did see some field time on defense last season, those results weren’t exactly promising, earning him a lowly 42.1 overall grade, according to Pro Football Focus.
A veteran like former Arizona Cardinals linebacker Joe Walker could ultimately challenge Al-Shaair for a spot on the roster, pushing the latter down the depth chart and potentially off the roster altogether.
Keep an eye on who’s getting those second-team reps during training camp. If Walker is climbing, it spells bad news to Al-Shaair.