49ers roster: 5 spicy position battles to watch during OTAs

Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /
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The 49ers start their 2022 OTAs this week, which means it’s time to dive into what should be the more intriguing position battles on the roster.

The San Francisco 49ers begin organized team activities this week.

While OTAs wholly lack the physical intensity and realness of training camp and the preseason, given that this first phase of activities involves zero contact and no pads, it does provide a pretty good glimpse of how the team is coming together.

We’ll see how the Niners’ 2022 rookie class is coming along as it squares up against the more experienced NFL-level competition, which players on the roster bubble are rising or falling, and how the depth chart might look when head coach Kyle Shanahan prepares his squad for training camp later this summer.

The major portions of trying to improve the team are complete, meaning 90 players are competing for 53 spots on the regular-season roster, while a few are hoping to at least make the practice squad or impress other teams for a second chance.

Needless to say, San Francisco will have some awfully intriguing position battles to watch over these upcoming nine practices, including these five that’ll draw the most attention.

Position battle No. 5: 49ers defensive line

The 49ers likely have their starting four players set for their defensive line, arguably the deepest and strongest unit on the roster.

EDGE Nick Bosa will likely be joined in tandem with defensive tackles Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw, while the Niners would ideally like their top pick from the 2022 NFL Draft, EDGE Drake Jackson, to serve as an every-down player and not just a situational pass-rusher.

If Jackson needs more time to develop, it’d be better news for reserve edge rushers like Jordan Willis and Samson Ebukam, who both enter offseason workouts on the roster bubble but have equally as good a chance of surviving cuts.

Things still get interesting down the depth chart, though, as San Francisco will have to figure out the pecking order among veterans such as Kemoko Turay, Charles Omenihu, Kerry Hyder, Hassan Ridgeway and Kevin Givens, while other rookies like Kalia Davis and Kevin Atkins could work themselves into the mix, too.

Simply put, the 49ers are going to have to cut some players who’d likely start on lesser D-lines around the league, but that’s usually a pretty good indicator this position is in good shape, depth-wise.