With Dre Greenlaw missing OTAs, some of the other 49ers depth linebackers have a bigger shot at impressing for a roster spot.
The San Francisco 49ers don't need linebacker Dre Greenlaw to attend organized team activities.
Of course, they'd prefer him to participate. Entering his fifth year at the pro level, Greenlaw has become a staple of the Niners defense and a proud member of arguably the best linebacking group in the entire NFL along with All-Pro Fred Warner.
While he might be at OTAs, physically, don't expect Greenlaw to participate much, if at all.
Last Thursday, Greenlaw revealed to KNBR 680 that he underwent offseason surgery on his thumb. And while he noted that it was a minor procedure, he did admit it would hinder his ability to contribute during OTAs.
Here's what Greenlaw said, transcribed by Angelina Martin of NBC Sports Bay Area:
"Just a little cleanup in the thumb. [It] was giving me some problems, just whenever I was punching at the ball or whenever I had to use my hands on O-linemen. [My] finger was just really jammed up, so I just had to get it cleaned up and fixed.
It’s going really well right now, so I’m just waiting, I guess. Now, I think they’re going to keep me out of OTAs for the most part, just because you don’t want any setbacks right now. But it’s going really well."
It doesn't appear as if Greenlaw will miss much more time than that, though. Mandatory minicamps kick off toward the middle of June, but training camp isn't until the end of July.
In all likelihood, Greenlaw will be 100 percent by then.
Dre Greenlaw injury opens up door for other linebackers to make 49ers roster
Greenlaw's "plight," if you want to call it that, is nevertheless an opportunity for many of the other fringe linebackers on San Francisco's roster.
The 49ers lost Azeez Al-Shaair earlier in the offseason to free agency, yet they responded by taking two rookies in the 2023 NFL Draft, TCU's Dee Winters and Baylor's Jalen Graham. Additionally, undrafted free-agent backer Mariano Sori-Marin out of Minnesota will contend for a back-end roster spot.
Those rookies would already be fighting for snaps against returning veterans like Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Curtis Robinson and Marcelino McCrary-Ball, but Greenlaw's injury should at least allow a bit more field time for those who are by no means guaranteed a roster spot this season.
Whoever takes advantage the most should be in a significantly better situation once training camp rolls around, a point where Greenlaw will be back.