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Philip Wheeler and the 49ers inside linebacker position

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The 49ers have a lot of options competing for time at inside linebacker. Philip Wheeler has had some solid moments in his career, and gets a chance to work with one of his former position coaches. Is it enough to secure a roster spot?

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The San Francisco 49ers wrap up their OTAs on Friday, and that will be followed by mandatory minicamp later next week. That will close out the offseason workout program and send us off on the long trek through the final slow portion of the offseason. During that time, we'll be left with depth chart projections and roster analysis to get us to August.

One depth chart projection will be at inside linebacker. Michael Wilhoite appear to be the starter next to NaVorro Bowman. He will still likely face some competition in training camp from guys like Philip Wheeler, Desmond Bishop, Nick Moody, Shayne Skov and Nick Bellore.

The 49ers announced the signing of Wheeler the first day of the 2015 NFL Draft. We really have not heard much of anything about him since, but he recently spoke with ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. He talked about his reasons for coming to San Francisco, and focused on the winning tradition and that he views the 49ers as "not quite rebuilding because it's not a bad team."

Later in the article, Wheeler mentioned his playing time with linebacker coach Jason Tarver when the latter was coaching linebackers in Oakland. Wheeler spent 2012 with the Raiders before signing a five-year $26 million contract with the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins released him after two years, and now he is looking to get things going once again. He struggled with consistency in 2013. In 2014 he looked decent but played fairly limited snaps.

In 2015, Wheeler would seem to be competing for a starting role, but he also comes in at a disadvantage behind Wilhoite. And there is also the fact that maybe the 49ers get creative with Jaquiski Tartt. He is a safety, but there has been some fan discussion about using him in a linebacker role when the 49ers are in some of their sub packages. Wheeler told Gutierrez he has gotten work inside in the nickel, so the upside is the 49ers have plenty of competition for some of these roles.

According to Jason Hurley, Wheeler is due a $130,000 bonus if he is on the 49ers roster come Week 1. Wheeler has Tarver on his side, but if all other things are equal, the 49ers would probably be inclined to go with a cheaper option. Wheeler has flashed talent, and joining his old Raiders coach is a benefit. I will be putting together a bubble watch next week before minicamp, and at this point, I'm leaning strong bubble, but am not entirely certain.