Training camp is just around the corner for the San Francisco 49ers and one of the many questions surrounding the team will be the position battles. Several positions are pretty much locked up (quarterback is shut tight) but then there’s other positions where it’s a wide open competion. Now that the 49ers have had a year under the Shanahan system and to revamp the roster, now they can start to see the prospects from 2017 really rise up.
NFL.com’s Nick Shook put together a nice primer of NFC West training camp previews and one of the things he looked at was position battles. His most important position for the 49ers? Wide receiver:
“Beyond Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon, the rest of the depth chart at the position is wide open. Aldrick Robinson returns as the 49ers’ third receiver, but after a season in which he caught just 19 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns, he faces competition from 2018 second-round pick Dante Pettis. The former Washington Husky was his team’s best receiving option by a long shot, displaying a propensity to catch and run and also beat most corners in one-on-one matchups inside the red zone. With Pettis checking in at 6-foot-1, the latter task will be more difficult in the NFL, but when you factor in his punt-returning ability (Pettis owns the record for most career punt return touchdowns in FBS history), it seems Pettis could make an impact quicker than most expect. That could include beating out Robinson for the third receiver position (not including slot man Trent Taylor). The receiver position takes on added importance for a Niners team that will be led by QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who signed a five-year deal worth $137.5 million in February, for a full season for the first time.”
Wide receiver seems interesting, but I’m still wanting to see what happens with the 49ers offensive line, namely the guards. The 49ers have Joe Staley for a few years and first round pick Mike McGlinchey on the opposite end (would love to see him at left tackle in the preseason just to confirm he can play the position, but that will never happen). Beyond that, the guards are a question mark. Laken Tomlinson’s extension indicates that he may have one of the spots locked up, but I still think it’s open season for everyone, including Jonathan Cooper and Joshua Garnett.
How the wide receiver depth shakes out is a battle to watch, but a competition of sorts seems a bit off. The 49ers have several locks and it’s mostly coming down to if Kendrick Bourne secures a roster spot (which he will). Aldrick Robinson very well may not make the team this year due to the bubbling talent. Bourne and Pettis are really the only two that are battling for any sort of position, and it’s not a starting one like the guards are.
What is the positional battles you want to watch for in training camp?