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49ers rookie expectations: John Theus best, worst case scenarios

The San Francisco 49ers drafted offensive tackle John Theus in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Can he become the team’s swing tackle as a rookie?

The San Francisco 49ers enter training camp in two weeks with 11 players in their 2016 draft class, not including undrafted free agents. Each player enters camp with different expectations, and odds are pretty good expectations will have changed for some of them by the end of training camp.

With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the best and worst case expectations for each player (players and links listed at the bottom). We’ll also try and come up with “realistic expectations,” but those extremes of best and worst will give us a framework heading into training camp. I want best and worst to be somewhat measured in realism, so we won’t have “gets cut” as the worst case scenario for every player. The same holds true for pie in the sky optimism.

Today, we’ll look at cornerback offensive tackle John Theus. The 49ers selected the Georgia product in the fifth round with their own pick. He has been playing at the two tackle positions. That includes Joe Staley on the left side, Erik Pears and Trent Brown competing on the right side, fellow fifth round pick Fahn Cooper competing on the right side, and Norman Price also competing.

Best case scenario

Although Pears and Brown seem to be the front-runners for the right tackle role, Theus has gotten some second and third team work, and I could see there being an outside shot that he claims the starting job. I think that is probably an absolutely best case, but I don’t think it is impossible. A slightly more realistic best case scenario would involve Theus claiming the swing tackle role, serving as the primary backup at both right and left tackle.

Worst case scenario

Theus is unable to claim the backup swing tackle role, and ends up inactive virtually the entire season. He could end up getting some special teams work, and injuries could lead to playing time, but for the most part, we don’t see much of him with the offensive line during his rookie season.

Realistic expectations

I don’t think the swing tackle role is out of the question, but I could see him initially starting out as the second tackle off the bench behind Brown or Pears. I don’t know how long it might take for him to otherwise get into the rotation, but we see some of it as a rookie.

1 (7). DeForest Buckner, DT, Oregon (best case/worst case)
1 (28). Joshua Garnett, OG, Stanford (best case/worst case)
3 (5). Will Redmond, CB, Mississippi State (best case/worst case)
4 (35). Rashard Robinson, CB, LSU (best case/worst case)
5 (3). Ronald Blair, DE, Appalachian State (best case/worst case)
5 (6). John Theus, OT, Georgia (best case/worst case)
5 (35). Fahn Cooper, OT, Ole Miss
6 (32). Jeff Driskel, QB, Louisiana Tech (best case/worst case)
6 (36). Kelvin Taylor, RB, Florida (best case/worst case)
6 (38). Aaron Burbridge, WR, Michigan State (best case/worst case)
7 (28). Prince Charles Iworah, CB, Western Kentucky