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What the 49ers 2016 NFL Draft results mean for the inside linebacker depth chart

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The San Francisco 49ers added no inside linebackers this offseason. Time to break down what it means for the 49ers ILB depth chart.

Previous posts: QB | RB | OL | DL

The San Francisco 49ers kicked off their rookie minicamp with player arrivals on Thursday, and practice the rest of the week. With OTAs getting started in two weeks, now seems like a good time to start assessing what the 2016 NFL Draft means to the roster. We're going to run through each position on the depth chart and take a preliminary look at how the draft picks might impact it, as well as an initial thought on the bubble watch. Today, we move on to the inside linebackers.

Inside linebackers

NaVorro Bowman, Gerald Hodges, Michael Wilhoite, Shayne Skov, Nick Bellore, Ray-Ray Armstrong

The 49ers surprised a lot of us last week when they did not draft any linebackers. They subsequently signed three outside linebackers as undrafted free agents, but they signed no inside linebackers. And so, the team heads into the rest of the offseason workout program with the same group that finished last season.

From a contract perspective, the most notable information is that Hodges and Wilhoite will both be free agents after this season. Hodges will wrap up his rookie contract, while Wilhoite just signed his one-year restricted free agent tender. Both will be unrestricted free agents next spring. Hodges recently changed agents, signing with Drew Rosenhaus. The 49ers have long had a good working relationship with Rosenhaus, so make of that what you will.

The big question for this group is which of Hodges or Wilhoite will be starting next to Bowman. Skov, Bellore and Armstrong will get preseason work, but I imagine they will be primarily special teams players this fall. Wilhoite has the most experience starting in the 49ers defense, while Hodges moved into the starting lineup the last four games after Wilhoite suffered a high ankle sprain.

Bubble Watch

Shayne Skov, Nick Bellore, and Ray-Ray Armstrong are all competing for special teams roles. Given the additions through the draft and undrafted free agency, they are among those facing the biggest challenge to retaining a roster spot. I imagine at least two of them are on the roster, but there will be stiff competition.

And I still wonder if the team will add another ILB before training camp, just to give them an extra body for the second half of each preseason game. I suppose they could play Skov, Bellore, and Armstrong plenty to fill out the group, but I could see a veteran or UDFA added later this summer.