49ers training camp bubble watch: Defensive line
Lock: Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, Drake Jackson*, Javon Kinlaw, Hassan Ridgeway, Kemoko Turay
Strong bubble: Samson Ebukam, Kevin Givens, Maurice Hurst, Kerry Hyder Jr., Charles Omenihu, Jordan Willis
Weak bubble: Kevin Atkins*, Alex Barrett
Long shot: Kalia Davis*, Dee Ford
San Francisco is going to part ways with some starting-caliber defensive linemen after training camp. Simply put, it doesn’t have enough roster spots to keep everyone.
Three-fourths of the starting group is set with Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw and Pro Bowler Nick Bosa headlining the group, leaving a question of who starts opposite Bosa at defensive end. And while the 49ers used a second-round NFL Draft pick on former USC EDGE Drake Jackson, Jackson’s raw run-stopping abilities might relegate him to solely being a situational pass-rusher in year one.
That suggests EDGE Samson Ebukam, who came on strong last year and into the postseason, is the favorite to start. Yet the Niners could, according to Over the Cap, part ways with him and save $6.5 million in cap space against $1.75 million in dead money if they see another like Charles Omenihu or Kerry Hyder emerge as a better option.
Hyder’s $750,000 fully guaranteed money makes him a safer bet to hang around, while Omenihu and EDGE Jordan Willis command nothing by the way of guarantees.
San Francisco is fully expected to part ways with oft-injured EDGE Dee Ford between now and Week 1, even though that’ll be an expensive transaction, while rookie defensive tackle Kalia Davis is a candidate to start the year on the non-football injury list because of a torn ACL suffered at the collegiate level a year ago.