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.
Signed out of one of the college talent pipelines, CB Tarvarus McFadden was one of Jimbo Fisher’s most productive players at Florida State. McFadden’s finest season in Tallahassee was his sophomore year, when he racked up eight interceptions, following in CB Jalen Ramsey’s footsteps. While the ex-Seminole stands tall at 6-foot-2 and has 32-1/2 inch arms, his 40-yard dash was the second-slowest amongst 56 defensive backs in the 2018 NFL Draft. The 49ers’ press-coverage scheme should benefit McFadden, but his lack of closing speed may limit him on the field.
Best case scenario for 2018
The 49ers are able to retain McFadden on their practice squad. The ex-Seminole was the most sought after un-drafted free agent, with John Lynch having to sweeten the pot to sign him. McFadden has to compete with DBs Jimmie Ward, Tarvarus Moore, D.J. Reed and Greg Mabin for a spot on the roster. My initial feeling is that McFadden won’t out-perform those players and thus won’t be on the initial 53-man roster. His lack of athleticism, poor coverage on the ball and propensity to give up touchdowns will hurt his chances. The 49ers want McFadden back on their roster, but stashed on the practice squad to allow him to grow into a bigger role for 2019 and beyond.
Worst case scenario for 2018
San Francisco decides that McFadden won’t be on the 53-man roster due to a poor showing in training camp, but aren’t able to retain him on their practice squad either. Around the NFL, teams are always hunting to add length and depth in their defensive backfield, so there’s a good chance that there’s another GM willing to take a chance on McFadden. After giving McFadden a large chunk of change in guaranteed money, the 49ers could lose the ex-Florida State corner in three weeks.