49ers training camp: 5 players who must get out to a hot start

Aaron Banks #65 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Aaron Banks #65 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Jordan Willis, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Jordan Willis (94) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 3: 49ers EDGE Jordan Willis

In a roundabout way, reserve EDGE Jordan Willis has found a niche role with the 49ers after being acquired from the New York Jets in the middle of the 2020 season.

Despite missing six games because of a PED violation last year, Willis nevertheless has managed 5.5 sacks with the Niners over two years, which is notably more than either of the two-year stints he had with both the Jets and Cincinnati Bengals, previously. And while those stats won’t jump off the table, Willis serving a role as a depth pass-rusher has its merits.

That is if he makes the cut, though.

San Francisco stockpiled additional pass-rushers to serve alongside the presumed starters in 2022, Nick Bosa and Samson Ebukam, by adding former Indianapolis Colts EDGE Kemoko Turay and then using a second-round draft pick on former USC EDGE Drake Jackson. Sure, having a stockpile of pass-rushers is never a bad strategy, but there’s a real scenario in which Willis finds himself the odd man out by the time roster cuts are announced.

To avoid that, Willis will have to show the speed-rushing element to his game in an attempt to ensure he winds up being part of the pass rush in 2022.