The San Francisco 49ers enter training camp in a few 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 offensive guard Joshua Garnett. The 49ers traded up from the second round into the bottom of the first round to select the Stanford product. He attended the rookie minicamp after the draft, but then had to miss all of OTAs due to Stanford’s early June final exam schedule. He was back for all three days of minicamp, where he primarily worked with the third team offensive line.
Best case scenario
He claims a starting job, likely right guard, fairly quickly in training camp. He starts all 16 games, and puts together a solid season. I think even in the best case scenario he has some rocky moments as a rookie. I suppose we could say he gets a Pro Bowl nod or something like that, but I think a more “realistic” best case scenario is he ends up on an all-rookie team.
Worst case scenario
The missed time in OTAs costs him, and he cannot claim a starting job in training camp. I think no starts as a rookie would be an unrealistic worst case scenario. Rather, he eventually earns the job, and has a very rocky rookie season. He won’t be handed the job on a silver platter, but I think he’ll be provided every chance to claim it. Whether it be in camp or during the season, I think it is almost a lock he is starting at some point. But a worst case sees him struggle most of the season.
He gets into the starting lineup at some point in training camp, likely no later than the second preseason game. He has his ups and downs as a rookie, looking better in run blocking than pass blocking. He does not earn an all-rookie nod, but we see bright spots that give us optimism.
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