The San Francisco 49ers brought in several players to improve the linebacker depth chart, and that leaves Ray-Ray Armstrong facing a tough competition for a roster spot.
Armstrong is doing plenty to get ready for camp and the competition. On Thursday, he posted some video doing some coverage work. That is an area of weakness for Malcolm Smith, so excelling there would certainly give Armstrong some kind of boost.
Smith and Reuben Foster will compete for the weak side linebacker role next to NaVorro Bowman. Armstrong was set to start inside next to Bowman in last year’s 3-4 defense, but a Week 2 chest injury cost him the rest of the season. The 49ers ILB depth chart was a mess last year with NaVorro Bowman tearing his Achilles two weeks later. That left Gerald Hodges, Michael Wilhoite, and Nick Bellore competing for the two starting roles. Add in Bellore also going on IR late in the season, and it was bad news all around.
The 49ers signed Armstrong to a two-year contract extension in December. It was surprising to see Trent Baalke handing out extensions to Armstrong and Vance McDonald, but it happened nonetheless. However, a new front office and coaching staff coupled with a relatively inexpensive extension means Armstrong does not have much in the way of job security. Malcolm Smith has the experience in a Seattle-type defense, but I would love to see Armstrong give him a run for his money in training camp.