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49ers training camp preview: Defensive line

The San Francisco 49ers will have to replace 2/3 of their starting defensive line for the first time since before Jim Harbaugh arrived. What will training camp tell us about this group?
DL: Bubble watch | Salary cap

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers welcome rookies and quarterbacks to training camp on Monday, July 27 and veterans on Friday, July 31. They then kick things off in earnest when they hold their first practice on Saturday, August 1. The team's first preseason game is not until August 15, but in the meantime, some semblance of football is almost back in our lives!

Thus far we have looked at the depth chart bubble watch, and salary cap questions about each position. I wanted to close out the offseason by figuring out the questions left to answer for each position as we head into training camp. We won't get all the answers we seek in training camp and the preseason, but we will get a much better handle on what this team looks like heading into the 2015 season.

The idea behind this is just to figure out what we are going to be looking for in training camp reports and preseason games. When final roster cuts are made, we will look back at these questions, and ahead to questions for the regular season.

The 49ers are undergoing significant changes in the trenches this year. We talked on Friday about questions surrounding the offensive line changes. Today, we look at the defensive line. Justin Smith retired and Ray McDonald was released, opening the door for changes at a position group that had been a rock for most of the last four years.

The depth chart later next week will likely feature Glenn Dorsey, Ian Williams and Quinton Dial starting in the base 3-4 line. Tank Carradine will compete for opportunities, but his best opportunity seems likely to be as part of the team's nickel package. Darnell Dockett is also a good bet to get opportunities primarily in the nickel package. Then the questions arise about an extensive group of players behind those five. Here are some of the questions I see for the offensive line heading into camp:

1. How soon will Darnell Dockett be on the practice field?

2. I have my assumptions about the depth chart, but what will it in fact look like when August 1 (first practice) and August 15 (first preseason game) get here?

3. What kind of work will Lawrence Okoye get in year three?

4. Will Arik Armstead be slow out of the gates having missed the offseason workout program? How quickly will he move up the depth chart?

5. What kind of work will Kaleb Ramsey get in August?

6. Is Tony Jerod-Eddie firmly in place as a reserve, or will he get a legitimate chance at a starting spot?

Feel free to throw out any of your own questions for the group. We won't address every one of these position group questions every single week, but I do plan on checking back on these as August moves along. Again, this is not about what questions face the group in the regular season. Rather, it is about what we can learn from the six weeks of training camp and preseason games.