The 49ers are expected to turn the keys over at quarterback and begin the Trey Lance era. If Lance lives up to his lofty draft status, scoring points shouldn’t be an issue for an offense that’s expected to trot out at least two different starters in 2022.
Aaron Banks has big shoes to fill at left guard, replacing Mr. Durable, Laken Tomlinson. Alex Mack’s retirement opens the door for Jake Brendel, Daniel Brunskill, or potentially an undrafted rookie. Jaylon Moore and Brunskill will also battle for the right guard spot.
Right down the middle, the 49ers will have fresh faces. But outside of that, there isn’t much turnover when discussing starters. Jaquiski Tartt is off to Philadelphia. D.J. Jones and K’Waun Williams are in Denver.
That brings us to today's question of the day: Which 2021 starter is more likely to lose their job in 2022? Again, you can make a case for plenty of positions.
If Jason Verrett stays healthy, does that bump Emmanuel Moseley? Will Samson Ebukam hold off rookie Drake Jackson or one of the other newcomers on the edge? Jauan Jennings is the starting slot receiver, but the Niners added Danny Gray and Ray-Ray McCloud, along with a couple of other wideouts this offseason.
We mentioned Brunskill above, but the sneaky pick, and my selection, is Elijah Mitchell. Technically, Raheem Mostert started the season. Mitchell was quickly anointed the starter after Mostert was lost for the season due to injury and went on to prove why.
Unfortuantely, injuries prevented Mitchell from playing the entire season. He’d miss a handful of games and play banged up in the others. Mitchell seems like he’d be better in a reserve, change of pace role.
Ty Davis-Price assumes the starter duties while Trey Sermon serves as the third-down back. Davis-Price is a no-nonsense runner who might not make many highlight reels, but he’ll move the chains and has the frame to withstand the wear and tear that comes from being an every-down back in the NFL.
There are a lot of Azeez Al-Shaair fans on the Niner Nation staff. I predict he’ll play starter snaps this season. But the coaching staff loves Dre Greenlaw, who played out of his mind in the playoffs and was worthy of starting alongside Al-Shaair. If the 49ers get playoff-Greenlaw in 2022, he’s never coming off the field.
Which 2021 starter is more likely to lose their job?