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.
The next rookie that we’ll be analyzing is 6-foot-5 defensive tackle Jullian Taylor out of Temple. The 49ers’ seventh-round draft pick is far from a finished product on the field, but the physical characteristics are there for development. Taylor was excellent as a run-stopper in his one season of play, racking up 11 tackles for loss. Unfortunately, his pass rushing game needs to catch up, with only one sack in 15 games played.
Best case scenario for 2018
Taylor comes into training camp and creates a name for himself, outplaying some of his older teammates and earning a backup role along the defensive line. While Ronald Blair III, D.J Jones, Arik Armstead and Sheldon Day likely have a heads start towards a roster spot, Taylor shows off potential and beats out one of those four players — likely Day. Taylor continues to work on his pass rushing, strength and thrives in a backup role.
Worst case scenario for 2018
The ex-Temple defensive end doesn’t shine during training camp and doesn’t find a spot on the 53-man roster. The defensive coaching staff realizes that Taylor won’t beat out the veteran defensive lineman during the season, thus they choose to let Taylor go and use the roster spot somewhere else. Maybe Taylor clears waivers and lands back on the 49ers’ practice squad, but the chances of him being with the 49ers into 2019 seem pretty low.