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49ers training camp bubble watch: Part 1

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Breaking down the players in competition for a roster spot in 2019.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With training camp at the end of July, we’re taking a look at players that will be fighting to make the San Francisco 49ers’ final 53-man roster in 2019. To kick off our series, we’ll be covering groups of players who find themselves on the roster bubble. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, in their third year, have built a roster that features the most competition since the pair took over in 2017. Today, we’ll look at two members of the secondary and two from the offensive line who’ll need a solid camp to earn their role this season.

S Antone Exum Jr.

Exum was among the eight different combinations fielded by the 49ers’ defense last season. He started seven games, totaling 40 tackles, seven pass breakups, and an interception returned for a touchdown in 2019. His chances of making the team’s final roster are partially dependent on the return timetable of Jimmie Ward, who suffered a broken collarbone during OTAs. Ward’s expected back before the start of the regular season, but his absence during camp gives Exum a chance to compete for a spot against the likes of Adrian Colbert and Tarvarius Moore.

C Wesley Johnson

Johnson was brought in by the 49ers this offseason to fill the temporary void at center left by starter Weston Richburg, who’s still recovering from knee surgery. Johnson spent the majority of his career with the New York Jets with forgettable results, earning an abysmal 31.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus in 2017. Richburg’s absence will give Johnson ample opportunity throughout camp to earn a spot as a backup, but for now, he’s a longshot to make the 49ers’ final 53.

CB Emmanuel Moseley

Moseley may have this group’s best shot at a roster spot. The former undrafted free agent out of Tennessee was the team’s highest-paid player on the practice squad last season, indicating both a keen interest around to league and the 49ers’ willingness to keep him around. Moseley authored a strong training camp and preseason as a rookie. If he can do the same in 2019, he stands a good chance at rising above Greg Mabin and sixth-round rookie Tim Harris on the depth chart.

G Ben Garland

Along with Johnson, Garland was another offseason addition to the 49ers’ offensive line. The 31-year-old spent the last three years with the Atlanta Falcons, including 2016 under then-offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Garland earned a respectable 69.3 overall grade from PFF in his four starts last season, good for 14th among qualifying guards. Given first-team reps at center during OTAs, Garland’s versatility coupled with a strong showing at camp gives him a decent shot at landing a backup spot behind Person, Tomlinson, and Richburg.