We are going to assume training camp starts on July 28 until we hear anything else. With that in mind, today’s question will focus on a player that is flying under the radar or has an opportunity to carve out a role for himself with the San Francisco 49ers. The Athletic’s David Lombardi said tight end Chase Harrell is his pick due to an impressive athletic profile. We wrote about Harrell on Monday. He’s a remarkable athlete, but I don’t believe Harrell plays to his athleticism, and aside from ball skills, he doesn’t bring anything to the table that’s not already on the roster.
Last year, Dre Greenlaw entered a perfect situation. The 49ers had a starter at SAM linebacker in Malcolm Smith, but they needed someone that fits better with today’s NFL. Greenlaw wasted no time making plays in training camp and eventually made Smith expendable. The 49ers roster has come a long way in a year. Most of the starting spots are spoken for, and the positions that are up for grabs are names that we’re all familiar with.
That doesn’t mean the Niners don’t have roles they need to fill. If Ronald Blair is out to start the season, you’ll look at his box score and see Taylor didn’t exactly stuff the stat sheet. Taylor recorded at least one stop in the final four games he played. With the talent that’s on the defensive line, he has a chance to take advantage of 1-on-1 opportunities. As with most, health is key for Taylor.
How about on offense? Lombardi may be onto something at tight end, but Harrell is a real long-shot. Could Colton McKivitz or Tom Compton surprise by starting at right guard? I’m going to go with the most popular position, wide receiver, and say Jalen Hurd makes such an impression that Shanahan has no choice but to leave him on the field. I’m also relatively high on Jauan Jennings and think he’s a great fit, but acknowledge we’re probably a year away from Jennings making an actual impact.
Who would you say? Let’s hear one for both offense and defense.