Monday marks the beginning of 12 days of the 49ers organized team activities (OTAs). As we head into the weekend, now seems as good a time as any to get a handle on what the June OTAs will bring to the forefront of discussion. While this is not training camp, the rookies and other new 49ers have had a chance to absorb the playbook. One would imagine this would create some separation in the eyes of the coaching staff. We had a brief discussion about training camp battles in discussion the Ted linebacker position. We will only briefly re-hash that, but for the most part this will deal with some of the other areas of clarity we can hope for over the coming weeks.
"Ted" Linebacker: The only change is that Ezra Butler will no longer be competing for this spot. Speaking of which, Butler cleared waivers and was claimed by no other teams. We'll see if he pops up later this year or takes some time in a smaller league to develop another chance.
ACL crew back in the house: Melvin Oliver, Joe Cohen and Manny Lawson all missed time last year due to torn ACLs. While ACL injuries do take time from which to recover, these are all guys who could make some sort of impact in 2008. Lawson is a guy who can hopefully help re-generate the pass rush that was missing, as well as bring a higher level of talent to the linebacking corp once again. Oliver has been talked up for some time and with the most recovery time since his injury, will hopefully get a better chance to prove his worth finally. Cohen will be battling for time at nose tackle and while he's behind Aubrayo Franklin and Ronnie Fields at the moment, count me as one vote for him doing some leap-frogging on the depth chart.
Chilo Rachal: Rachal has officially been moved to right tackle for the three weeks of OTAs. It seems that part of this is the belief that he can man the tackle position, but also the fact that there is a big-time depth problem at tackle. If Rachal can prove his versatility, that would be huge considering the potential for injury issues on the line. It certainly helps that he's not being asked to take over the blind side at left tackle. I'm curious what everybody here thinks. Assuming Rachal ends up playing 7-10 years in the league (just for argument's sake), does he spend most of that time at guard or tackle? Obviously it depends on the team he's with and the need that develops. Injuries throw a monkey wrench into anybody's plans, and for now I see this as simply an insurance move.
Free Safety: So Mark Roman had a "minor" shoulder surgery and will be held back for the first week of the OTAs. It's being reported that Dashon Goldson will get the first team snaps in his place. While the post-draft minicamp doesn't tell us a whole lot, Goldson supposedly looked solid. Roman is 31 and still can make an impact, but it certainly wouldn't hurt for Goldson to continue improving. Considering the wide receiver talent in the league, you can never have too much secondary depth.
Quarterback: There will obviously be plenty of opportunities to discuss the QB position for the 49ers. It is the position that has created the most drama and will continue to do so until somebody steps up and grabs the proverbial bull by the horns. I mention it in this section simply because McNolan has indicated they want to have an idea of their #1 guy by the end of OTAs, so that guy can get the majority of the #1 team snaps in training camp. Rather than go into detail on my thoughts here, I'm just going to leave it at that. Between now and training camp I'll be throwing out a solid sized post to bring in all the quarterback arguments. There is just too much to be said to bring it up at this point.