Day 1 belongs to the defense. The San Francisco 49ers kicked off training camp on Saturday in an afternoon dominated by the team’s talented front seven. DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas, and rookie Nick Bosa all managed to stand out in an impressive start to what will be 11 practices before the 49ers’ preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
Here’s our stock report after Day 1 of the 49ers training camp:
Stock up: The defense
The defense came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, suffocating the offense during the initial team period. On the very first play, rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw burst through the gap to meet running back Tevin Coleman in the backfield. DeForest Buckner was also in on the tackle. The front seven looked good during the onset of the team period, giving quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo very little time to process. Solomon Thomas also had a strong day, looking particularly fast off the ball. It’s an encouraging start for a defense hoping to get after that quarterback in 2019.
Stock down: The offense
For every action, there is an equal an opposite reaction. The offense struggled on Saturday, which is typical during the early portions of training camp. The offensive line seemed overwhelmed against the 49ers’ talent-laden defensive front. The unit surrendered multiple pressures and possible sacks throughout the afternoon, and the run game failed to generate any traction. The group found its footing later in practice, but it was never to a point where it felt like momentum was swinging in their favor.
Stock up: DE Nick Bosa
It was an impressive training camp debut for the 49ers’ second-overall pick. Bosa began the afternoon working against the second-team offense. In the final portion of team practice, Bosa began working with the first-team unit. He had multiple successful reps against Joe Staley, including a would-be strip-sack after beating the veteran tackle around the edge. Staley said via SacBee’s Chris Biderman that Bosa’s technique, particularly hip movement, presented a challenge for him. Bosa also held up well against the run, keeping Staley at bay stop one outside run at the line of scrimmage. This may become a matchup to watch throughout camp.
Stock down: OT Joe Staley
No, Staley’s stock isn’t down. Everyone knows exactly what to expect from the 13-year former All-Pro. On the other hand, this is about daily performance, and Staley had his hands full with Bosa during the final team portion of practice. The No. 2 overall pick in 2019 got around Staley on multiple occasions, pressuring Garoppolo. On one rep, Bosa looked to be in a position to strip the ball from the 49ers’ quarterback, which is strictly forbidden. Staley said after practice Bosa bested him on multiple occasions, an impressive accomplishment for a rookie. I’d bet on Staley in Round 2.
Stock up: WR Jordan Matthews
The depth chart at receiver is far from solidified. Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel, and Jalen Hurd are locks to make the roster, with Marquise Goodwin also standing a good chance. That leaves what’s likely to be two spots to be contested by the remaining wideouts. Matthews, signed in the offseason to a one-year deal, establish himself as a contender on Saturday. The six-year veteran reeled in multiple targets from Garoppolo, including a crossing route that went for a big gain. At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Matthews is among the 49ers’ biggest receivers and could prove an asset over the middle and in the red zone.
Stock up: LB Dre Greenlaw
As mentioned earlier, Greenlaw kicked off practice with an impressive would-be tackle for loss on Coleman. It was an encouraging start that’s not typical of rookie defenders. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk was quick to point out Greenlaw’s aggression after practice, seemingly impressed with his play so far this offseason. The former Arkansas linebacker looks to have earned a role on the first-team unit ahead of veteran Malcolm Smith, which points toward a significant role during his rookie year. Greenlaw’s presence next to Fred Warner and Kwon Alexander will be one to watch throughout camp.