The San Francisco 49ers report for training camp on July 25th, at which point position competitions will work their way into focus. Training camp also means we finally get to see the youngest and newest members of the 49ers get into pads and engage in some real contact with the team for the first time.
As training camp approaches, we thought it would be fun to take a look at each of the 49ers notable rookies, and consider the best and worst case scenarios for them this season. We are looking at draft picks and a handful of UDFAs. Additionally, by best and worst case scenario, I’m thinking realistic best and worst. Sure, they could become All Pros as rookies or could end up getting cut by the end of training camp. But let’s consider realistically what would be the best and the worst for each.
Today, let’s take a look former Florida Gator S Marcell Harris, who was sidelined during the 2017 campaign due to a torn achilles injury. While the 49ers may have their starting safeties of the future, their depth at the position is quite thin. Harris was a solid special teams player at Florida and during his one season on the field, he racked up 73 tackles, two interceptions and a defensive touchdown.
Best case scenario for 2018
Harris returns healthy from his torn Achilles, makes the 53-man roster, and becomes a core special teams’ contributor. While it’ll be tough for Harris to find defensive snaps on the field, his physical stature and speed will make him a gunner on punt coverage and a key member for kickoff coverage. I think Harris can work his way into a backup role for one of the safety spots, but it’s going to be an uphill battle given the number of young players battling for a spot.
Worst case scenario for 2018
The ex-Gator doesn’t return completely healthy from his torn Achilles, causing him to not make the initial 53-man roster. It’s always difficult to keep a 6th-round player coming off of an injury — especially one that doesn’t come back 100 percent. During training camp, Harris may not show much promise on special teams, likely getting beat out by other versatile players. The 49ers will try to stash Harris on the practice squad, essentially giving him a redshirt rookie season, but another team needing safety depth signs him away.