The San Francisco 49ers are approximately 40 days from their first practice of 2015 training camp. Once camp gets going, there will be daily media reports leading up to the preseason opener on August 15. That time will give us a better grasp on the depth chart, and which players have climbed onto the bubble.
As we approach training camp, we'll be assessing the roster in several ways. We'll start with this bubble watch post. We'll go position-by-position, and break down whether players are locks, strong bubble, weak bubble and longshots. The discussion for each article will not follow a specific format, but rather will focus on the more interesting aspects of the particular roster competition. In July, we'll follow this with a look at contract numbers for each position, and we'll close with a look at key questions facing each position.
Locks: Bruce Miller
Strong Bubble: None
Weak Bubble: Trey Millard
I am not entirely sure what to make of the fullback position. Bruce Miller has established himself as one of the best fullbacks in the league, but he is wrapping up an offseason in which he was arrested on suspicion of spousal battery, and eventually plead out to disturbing the peace. He was asked to stay away from the 49ers offseason workout program while he resolved his situation, and he eventually returned in time for the last part of OTAs and minicamp.
The 49ers spent a seventh round pick on Trey Millard a year ago. He spent the season on the NFI list, but will seemingly enter training camp at just about 100 percent. Millard filled an h-back role at Oklahoma, and he seemingly could do something similar with the 49ers. He also would be viewed as a significant special teams option if he made the roster.
The question becomes whether or not Millard can make the roster. I don't see Miller going anywhere, barring something drastically changing with his legal situation. The question then is who Millard would surpass for a roster spot. He is competing against guys who can contribute on special teams, but could he be competing against the back-end of the running back rotation?
I had initially considered including fullbacks with the running backs in yesterday's bubble watch article. Given that Millard can be a jack-of-all-trades type of role, he very well could be able to supplant a guy like Kendall Hunter. Of course, we could also potentially consider him with the tight ends. Millard could very well fill a Delanie Walker type role eventually. That's not to say it would happen right away, but his ability to move all over the field brings significant value.
I divided up bubble players into weak and strong bubble. However, Millard strikes me as a guy who would fit somewhere in between those two groupings. I was tempted to include him in strong bubble, but the numbers game is a tough one for him. He's a hard one to assess without knowing how the 49ers intend to use him once training camp gets here.