When you think about the 49ers roster, there are few holes compared to the rest of the NFL. Right tackle remains a question mark, and the Niners could stand to add depth at a few positions. But if someone were to ask you what the weakest position on the roster is, your answer may not be as clear-cut as it was in year’s past.
If we start on the offensive side of the ball, quarterback has been a daily topic in 49ers land, but, when you factor in the talent and play-caller that surrounds whoever is under center, the difficulty of their job isn’t in the same stratosphere as others around the league. A quarterback room of Brock Purdy, Trey Lance, and Sam Darnold will win you games.
Any position group that has a Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, or Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk in it will never be considered a weak link.
The same could be said for Trent Williams and the offensive line. The hope is that Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford take the next step in their second seasons as starters. The front office did a fine job this offseason of adding veterans who could sub into the lineup in a pinch, with Matt Pryor and Jon Feliciano. Kyle Shanahan’s scheme protects the offensive line, too.
The most significant change defensively comes at coordinator, as Steve Wilks takes over for DeMeco Ryans. The defensive line will look quite a bit different. Charles Omenihu and Samson Ebukam were fantastic in their roles the past season and a half. Drake Jackson, Clelin Ferrell, Robert Beal Jr., and Austin Bryant have the biggest shoes to fill on the team.
The 49ers need a healthy season from Arik Armstead. If so, him and Javon Hargrave could change the dynamic of the NFC with their dominance inside as Nick Bosa commands double teams on the edge. The depth at defensive tackle consists of Kevin Givens, Javon Kinlaw, and a sixth-rounder from the 2022 draft class, Kalia Davis. Defensive tackle is one of if not the strongest positions on the team.
Azeez Al-Shaair was the real deal when he was on the field. It’d be a surprise if he wasn’t productive with the Titans. But the 49ers drafted Dee Winters and Jalen Graham, and have also developed Marcelino McCrary-Ball behind the scenes. Between Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Curtis Robinson, and Oren Burks, you’d think the 49ers could find three linebackers to fill one spot and complement Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw.
The Athletic’s Matt Barrows reported that Samuel Womack was working on the outside during Tuesday’s OTA practice, while Isaiah Oliver played Nickel. Womack and Darrell Luter Jr. will serve as depth behind Deommodore Lenoir and Mooney Ward, as Ambry Thomas fights for a roster spot.
There isn’t the star power at cornerback that will steer teams away from targeting this group, but the athleticism is there. As always, the secondary will be under the microscope this season.
Talanoa Hufanga looks to build off an All-Pro season, while Tashaun Gipson returns on a one-year deal. The 49ers traded up to draft Ji’Ayir Brown, who figures to play in sub-packages before taking over for Gipson a year from now.
That’s a rundown of the 49ers roster. As of today, what’s the weakest unit heading into the regular season?