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Safety depth might be a fatal flaw — depending on how this summer plays out

The 49ers have questions at safety, but training camp could clear that up.

The San Francisco 49ers enter the 2018 season looking to step forward from last year’s 6-10 performance, but facing plenty of roster question marks. Will Jimmy Garoppolo build on last year? How will the wide receiver corps fare? Will the offensive line gel? What do we make of the pass rush? Can Reuben Foster stay on the field? How will the new additions at cornerback perform?

A Bleacher Report NFL analyst took a look at all 32 teams and offered up one fatal flaw for each team. He took a different approach to the 49ers roster. He suggested safety as the team’s fatal flaw. He had this to say about the position:

But Adrian Colbert is a seventh-round pick with all of six career starts. Strong safety Jaquiski Tartt has been decent while on the field but has also demonstrated issues with staying there—including seven missed games in 2017.

And behind that pair on the depth chart, there isn’t much.

I can see the issue of depth. The team returns Don Jones (ACL) and Chanceller James (ACL), along with rookie Marcell Harris likely returning from his summer 2017 Achilles injury means there will be more depth come training camp. But Jones is primarily a special teamer, James is a UDFA, and Harris is a rookie — safety depth is still a question mark. The team could conceivably bring back Eric Reid if an injury happens, but otherwise, it is a bit of a high wire act for the time being.

But is it the “fatal flaw” for this 49ers team? I would argue the pass rush is the more notable fatal flaw, but the lack of depth raises some concerns. Chanceller James is a guy I am fascinated to watch after a strong offseason last year before his ACL tear. And let’s not forget that Jimmie Ward could potentially end up serving as the super sub at four of the five nickel defensive back positions (probably not strong safety). So, maybe it’s not quite such a fatal lack of depth.