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49ers Draft Pick Ronald Johnson: Battling For the Slot Position?

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Yesterday we began our look at 49ers GM Trent Baalke's film sessions for each of the 49ers 2011 NFL Draft picks. We began with safety Colin Jones, whom the 49ers view as a guy who can make an immediate contribution on special teams and potentially develop into an elite special teams player. Today, we move to the offensive side of the ball and look at Baalke's film session regarding former USC wide receiver Ronald Johnson.

This film session did not reveal quite as much as the Jones film session. Based on Baalke's brief comments, we can figure out a couple things. First, Johnson will be battling for playing time in the slot. The 49ers see Johnson as a better fit as the Z wide receiver as opposed to the X. I get these different letter designations confused. I had thought the Z was a flanker, but Baalke seemed to mix it in with his discussion of the slot, which I thought was more the Y. Whatever the case, his mention of the slot lines up with the comments I've seen in here when Johnson has come up in discussion.

Baalke also indicated that Johnson would see some time in the return units and coverage units. Rookies, particularly late round picks, can get a lot of time on special teams so the coverage information isn't surprising. It will be interesting though to see what kind of playing time Johnson gets in the return game. The 49ers return unit could include Ted Ginn, Kyle Williams, Phillip Adams, and maybe Delanie Walker. Add in Chris Culliver and Ronald Johnson and you've got a whole lot of potential return men. How do you sort through the mess of players?