49ers training camp: 4 players facing uphill battle in 2021

San Francisco 49ers running back JaMycal Hasty (23) and offensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi (62) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers running back JaMycal Hasty (23) and offensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi (62) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 4
Kevin Givens, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Kevin Givens (90) Mandatory Credit: San Francisco 49ers/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Network /

While training camp is never easy for anyone, these four 49ers players may experience a more challenging time than others in 2021.

It’s not too difficult to go through the San Francisco 49ers‘ offseason roster and identify the majority of starters on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball heading into 2021.

And as long as injuries don’t wind up playing a massive factor during training camp and the preseason, most predictions will probably come true.

That said, there are a number of crucial training camp battles and positions to be won or lost. Whether these are for starting spots or vital depth roles, the idea for any camp is to ramp up the competition with the hope of bringing out the best of every player involved.

Even if it means nearly half the offseason roster will essentially be out of a job come Week 1.

Yet some players face a bigger uphill struggle than others.

Sure, the undrafted rookies always face this. So do the long shots. But there are other relatively high-profile players who, for whatever the reasons, are going to have a significantly tougher time making a claim for a spot on the regular-season 53-man roster.

Including these four.

No. 4: 49ers Defensive Tackle Kevin Givens

Earlier this offseason, it seemed as if third-year pro Kevin Givens was easily going to be on the outs of San Francisco’s regular-season roster, stemming from offseason legal issues that endangered his 49ers future.

Yet the charges Givens was facing have since been dropped, but that doesn’t change the fact the Niners have beefed up this offseason at nose tackle.

In addition to re-signing the presumed starter, D.J. Jones, San Francisco also brought in another starting-caliber nose tackle in Zach Kerr, who certainly has the experience over Givens, having played six years around the league, and might be the favorite to work with Jones on a rotational basis.

True, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans recently sang Givens’ praises, which is a plus.

Yet teams typically don’t keep three nose tackles, meaning there’s a good chance one of these three likely have to go. And seeing it probably won’t be Jones who’s moved, that’ll make the camp battle between Givens and Kerr.

Youth and Ryans’ comments? Or Kerr’s speed and veteran’s savvy?

The latter might be tough for Givens to overcome even if he performs well in camp.