49ers starters who could be benched with a bad training camp

Kyle Shanahan has never been shy about benching underperforming players, even if they're veterans.
San Francisco 49ers guard Spencer Burford (L)
San Francisco 49ers guard Spencer Burford (L) / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
1 of 4

Nearly every starting position on the 49ers roster in 2023 has been accounted for. But a few could change hands in training camp.

San Francisco 49ers training camp is halfway over, and there have been some notable developments that have graced headlines over the first week-plus.

Of course, the primary focus has been at quarterback where second-year pro Brock Purdy is trying to solidify his hold on the starting job over two higher-pedigree signal-callers, Trey Lance and Sam Darnold.

Purdy, who is coming back from offseason elbow surgery, is primarily working against the Niners' first-string defense, so any struggles he might display are certainly understandable.

And there is no sign that Purdy will lose his starting job, injuries notwithstanding.

These other veterans, however, could ultimately lose their starting jobs if they don't fare well in training camp.

No. 4: 49ers right guard Spencer Burford

A year ago, then-rookie lineman Spencer Burford split snaps with now-Tennessee Titans lineman Daniel Brunskill at right guard, which worked out well enough and led to Burford being ticketed as San Francisco's full-time starter entering 2023.

Granted, the 49ers defensive line is stacked, and Burford regularly has to go against top defensive tackles like Arik Armstead and Javon Hargrave in practice.

But, as Rohan Chakravarthi of 49ers Webzone pointed out, Burford has been struggling with pass protection in training camp to date:

"Burford's pass protection will truly determine how high his ceiling can be, and the early returns in camp have been uninspiring with pads on.

It'll be a tough challenge, given that he'll see Arik Armstead or Javon Hargrave opposite of him with the first-team offense, but he's also got to be more consistent against the backups."

If Burford continues to decline, it'd likely lead to veteran lineman Jon Feliciano filling in as a starter.