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49ers bubble watch 2017: All kinds of linebacker shake-up

The 49ers are starting to get some answers to roster questions. How is it impacting the bubble watch? Today, we look at the linebackers.

The San Francisco 49ers are officially halfway through their 2017 preseason schedule, and have wrapped up their open training camp schedule. There is plenty of evaluation still to be done, but practice is now closed to the media.

Now that we have reached this point, it is time to take a look at where the bubble watch stands. We have not done a formal bubble watch look since late June. We took a look at the potential 53-man roster Monday morning, but for the rest of the week, we will be taking a look at the bubble watch for each position. Today, we move on to the linebackers.

Lock: NaVorro Bowman, Reuben Foster, Ray Ray Armstrong
Strong Bubble: Ahmad Brooks, Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson, Brock Coyle
Weak Bubble: Shayne Skov, Austin Calitro, Sean Porter
Longshot: None

There have been quite a few changes since our June bubble watch. Malcolm Smith is on the shelf with a torn pec, which opens up the inside linebacker competition in a big way. I upgraded Ray Ray Armstrong to a lock because of that injury. Brock Coyle and Shayne Skov are special teams players that you do not want playing any kind of regular defensive snaps.

Outside linebacker is a little tougher to figure out. Ahmad Brooks seemed like a lock, but then we saw Eli Harold getting starter reps ahead of him. I would be surprised if the 49ers cut Brooks, but not entirely shocked. Of course, we’ve had this discussion for years now, and Brooks continues to stick around. But there is just enough doubt in my mind that I moved him from lock to strong bubble.