4 biggest disappointments from SF 49ers training camp

San Francisco 49ers during training camp (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Getty Images)
San Francisco 49ers during training camp (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Getty Images) /
1 of 4
Javon Kinlaw, SF 49ers training camp
Javon Kinlaw #99 of the San Francisco 49ers during training camp (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

The SF 49ers have had plenty of good stories throughout training camp, yet there have been more than a handful of disappointments, too.

For the most part, the SF 49ers are looking as if they’ll be able to back up their reputation of being Super Bowl contenders as they work their way through the 2020 version of training camp.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad has had a solid balance between offense and defense, riding some excellent defensive line play and an elite linebacking corps against what should still be a top-tier rushing offense. And while there have been some setbacks at wide receiver due to injuries, a number of players have stood out for all the right reasons.

At the same time, though, there have been a number of disappointments.

Some of these have centered on players. Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon has been up and down, which is a good way to describe his pro career since being drafted in 2017. Other disappointments have been related to particular units. The interior of the offensive line has been questionable at best, and the depth behind presumed starters isn’t exactly showing its value.

But as far as identifying the specific disappointments, let’s look at what could be considered the largest outliers when comparing them to expected levels and pre-training camp hype.

SF 49ers Disappointment No. 1: Javon Kinlaw is coming along slower than anticipated

Understandably, the Niners’ top pick from the 2020 NFL Draft, South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, has a lot of pressure on his shoulders to deliver right away. After all, aside from being the No. 14 overall pick, Kinlaw is being tasked with stepping in and filling the void left by now-Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.

Not an easy task.

Kinlaw has had some rough one-on-one reps during camp, including being shut down with regularity against offensive linemen Laken Tomlinson and a rookie, Colton McKivitz. While Kinlaw will win some reps from time to time, the results so far have led to a pretty simple conclusion: Kinlaw remains a work in progress.

“He’s getting his feet under him,” defensive coordinator Robert Saleh told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan. “I think he’s trying to find his way.”

This isn’t a horrible situation, of course. Kinlaw is still projected to be a massive force at the NFL level. And it’s rare to get the kind of immediate rookie impact similar to what the 49ers received from a player like EDGE Nick Bosa a year ago.

Still, Kinlaw not jumping out of the gate right away is disappointing enough.

Speaking of Bosa…