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49ers depth chart: Player at each position I will be watching tonight

The 49ers have a whole lot of players to consider in their preseason opener. Who are the specific players we'll be watching?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight's game gives us our first opportunity to watch the 49ers, and I have a hunch it will be easy to lose track and find yourself looking at a little bit of everything. While I will be keeping an eye on everything, I thought I would take a quick look at which player from each position group I wanted to track tonight.

Below is an adjusted depth chart. In the depth charted released by the 49ers, they list two of several positions where we see multiple starters. I combined those together through simple copy and paste.


QB: Colin Kaepernick, Colt McCoy, Scott Tolzien, B.J. Daniels

Who I'll watch: B.J. Daniels - The backup QB job may be between McCoy and Tolzien, but Daniels is the guy that brings intrigue. He's been getting time at QB, RB, WR and returner. I imagine we'll see a little bit of everything from him tonight, but I really want to see what he can do as a quarterback. I've read that his arm strength is second on the roster to Kap. He has to work on his accuracy, but tonight we get to see what an offseason with Jim Harbaugh and Geep Chryst has done for him.

OTs: Joe Staley, Carter Bykowski, Anthony Davis, Kenny Wiggins, Patrick Omameh

Who I'll watch: Kenny Wiggins - He's in a tough fight for a roster spot, with Adam Snyder potentially having the edge. I don't remember much of Wiggins last preseason, so I want to try and see what's what this time around. I suppose Carter Bykowski could get the call here as well, but Wiggins has a season with the 49ers under his belt, so I'm curious.

Interior Line: Mike Iupati, Joe Looney, Al Netter, Jonathan Goodwin, Daniel Kilgore, Alex Boone, Adam Snyder

Who I'll watch: Daniel Kilgore - Most of these "Who I'll watch" are under the radar guys. Kilgore is not under the radar, but rather will likely be starting at center tonight. Jonathan Goodwin has been dealing with an undisclosed injury, and is only in a non-contact jersey in practice at this point. I don't think Goodwin gets cut this year, but it will be interesting to see how far along Kilgore has come. Looney is a close second.

RB: Frank Gore, LaMichael James, Anthony Dixon, Jewel Hampton, D.J. Harper, Bruce Miller, Jason Schepler

Who I'll watch: Jewel Hampton - This is a close call between Harper and Hampton, but if I had to pick one, I'd go with the guy who has spent a year in the system, even if he didn't practice until late in the season. Reports indicate Harper has been better in blitz pickup, so we'll see what Hampton is able to do. In reality, I'll be paying close attention to both Harper and Hampton.

TE: Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek, MarQueis Gray

Who I'll watch: MarQueis Gray - Vance McDonald would be the easy choice on this, but I'd love to see how Gray has developed in his transition from QB/WR at Minnesota to TE in the NFL. If he's going to have any shot at a roster spot, he'll need to show he can block. We'll want to see what he can do as a receiving weapon as well, but the blocking will be an important of his performance tonight.

WR: Anquan Boldin, A.J. Jenkins, Ricardo Lockette, Austin Collie, Lavelle Hawkins, Kyle Williams, Chad Hall, Kassim Osgood, Chuck Jacobs, Marlon Moore, Quinton Patton

Who I'll watch: A.J. Jenkins - I could make an argument for several players, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dying to see what Jenkins does tonight. It's only one preseason game, but my fingers are crossed for even just a decent performance. He's had some strong practices this week, so we'll see if it translates to the game.


RDT: Justin Smith, Will Tukuafu, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Ray McDonald, Demarcus Dobbs, Lawrence Okoye

Who I'll watch: Lawrence Okoye - Of course I'm interested in watching the guy who has never played American football before this summer. If he makes it out for some snaps, it probably would not be until the fourth quarter, but even still, it will be fascinating to watch.

NT: Ian Williams, Glenn Dorsey, Lamar Divens, Mike Purcell

Who I'll watch: Ian Williams - He's been getting constant praise since Day 1 of training camp. It's time to see how it translates to the field.

ILB: Patrick Willis, Michael Wilhoite, Nick Moody, NaVorro Bowman, Nate Stupar, Travis Johnson

Who I'll watch: Michael Wilhoite - I was considering Nick Moody, but with Wilhoite getting the start in place of Patrick Willis, I'm curious to see what he can do. Wilhoite seems like the front-runner to take over Larry Grant's backup role, so we'll see what he can do against the Broncos starters.

OLB: Aldon Smith, Parys Haralson, Corey Lemonier, Ahmad Brooks, Cam Johnson, Dan Skuta

Who I'll watch: Cam Johnson - We know Lemonier will make the roster, so why not focus on a guy like Johnson, who is firmly on the bubble. The former seventh round pick spent much of last season on the practice squad, and it sounds like he has done some good things in practice. Now that hitting will be live, let's see what he can do.

LCB: Carlos Rogers, Tramaine Brock, Marcus Cooper, Lowell Rose, Tarell Brown, Nnamdi Asomugha, Perrish Cox, Darryl Morris

Who I'll watch: Tramaine Brock - The 49ers will likely find themselves in their nickel quite a bit this evening, particularly when the Broncos starters are out there. Brock is getting first crack at the third cornerback position, so naturally I want to see what he does against a potent Broncos offense.

SS: Donte Whitner, Craig Dahl, Darcel McBath, Raymond Ventrone

Who I'll watch: Raymond Ventrone - He has gotten pretty much no snaps at safety, so this might be as much about seeing him on special teams as anything else. He's a guy who needs to blow the coaching staff away with his special teams performance.

FS: C.J. Spillman, Eric Reid, Trenton Robinson, Michael Thomas

Who I'll watch: Reid - Well, of course I want to see what Eric Reid can do. It's time to see what the rookie brings to the table, even if it is not against the starting offense.