Backup playing time: The one perk to the exhibition season

A few days ago, when the 49ers signed Nate Davis, Matt Barrows had an interesting comment that got me thinking:

Where [Nate Davis] ends up likely will depend on how much exposure Davis receives during the preseason and how well he plays when he gets that exposure.

The point Barrows was making was that it's a tough call if Davis makes the roster (as apparently he thinks Huard has a good chance at making the roster).  If he impresses in the preseason, it would be considerably harder to hide Nate Davis on the practice squad.  Some folks will throw out Thomas Clayton as an example of a guy excelling but not getting snatched up.  The difference is that there was a time when Nate Davis was getting much more respect in mock drafts and general player rankings.  Obviously things changed, but this is not a nobody people don't know about it.  Just wanted to get that out there.

However, Barrows' comments got me thinking about something else.  Rookies are reporting today and veterans are reporting Thursday.  The 49ers kick off the preseason Friday August 14, meaning action will be happening pretty quickly.  Most of us have certain random 49ers we are intrigued by heading into the preseason.  I realize many want to see the likes of Crabtree, Gore and so forth.  But for now I'm talking about more under-the-radar options.  What players are you particularly intrigued to see perform in the preseason?

For me, Nate Davis is definitely on that short list.  Of course, it's gonna be tough for him to get a lot of playing time, even in the preseason.  In looking at week 1 against the Broncos, do all four QBs get a quarter of playing time?  Whatever the case may be, I really want to see what Nate Davis can do with an NFL offense....even if it's with some scrubs at the skill positions.

Elsewhere on offense, Bear Pascoe falls on my short list.  I realize that he's going to be spending any regular season time blocking.  However, in the preseason we might get a chance to see his receiving skills.  He put up solid numbers in college so we'll see if he can convert that at the NFL level.  Or at least the NFL preseason level.

On defense, Dashon Goldson and Kentwan Balmer are both on my list.  Goldson has been a ballhawk in practice, but struggled to stay healthy in game situations.  If he can stay healthy, it could be fun seeing a safety that actually forces turnovers.  Balmer provided next to nothing last season and I'd imagine will see a LOT of playing time in the preseason.

So who are you excited to watch in the preseason?

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