49ers training camp: Updated bubble watch after opening cuts

Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Kwon Alexander, Fred Warner, 49ers
Kwon Alexander #56 and Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

49ers Linebacker

Lock: Kwon Alexander, Dre Greenlaw, Fred Warner

Strong Bubble: Azeez Al-Shaair, Mark Nzeocha

Weak Bubble: Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Joe Walker

Long Shot: Jonas Griffith*

Similar to the situation at cornerback, the Niners’ situation at linebacker behind their starting trio is pretty questionable.

Kwon Alexander, Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner comprise one of the best linebacking units in the league. And while it’s going to be tough for the front office to maintain that in coming years, there’s little doubt this unit should be potent and refreshed over the course of 2020, as long as it stays healthy.

The real battles take place down the depth chart. It’s likely San Francisco keeps no more than five linebackers on the 53-man roster, and special teams ace Mark Nzeocha appears to have carved out a niche here for himself. That leaves essentially one spot open to be decided between the remaining four of Azeez Al-Shaair, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Joe Walker and the rookie, Jonas Griffith.

Al-Shaair saw plenty of starting time last season but was a liability in tackling. That hurts his stock and is probably why the 49ers brought aboard a veteran like Walker.

Walker has plenty of special teams prowess, too, which will be important for whoever winds up winning the fifth spot on the depth chart.