Connect with us

San Francisco 49ers

49ers 2018 Positional Breakdown: Wide Receiver

Published

on

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin
© Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Over the offseason, we break down each of the San Francisco 49ers’ position groups for the upcoming 2018 NFL season. In this edition, we break down the Niners’ wide receivers.

 

This is the third edition of our 49ers 2018 offseason positional breakdowns. Check out the first two articles here:

Running Back
Quarterback

After replacing the San Francisco 49ers’ entire receiving corps last season, general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan drafted two additional wide receivers to compete for spots on the team’s 2018 roster. Let’s take a look at each of the Niners’ 11 wideouts, beginning with the players most likely to make the 49ers’ final 53-man roster:

WR Pierre Garcon

Last year, the 49ers’ new No. 1 wide receiver Pierre Garcon was on his way to another 1,000-yard season before he sustained a season-ending neck injury in Week 8. Garcon didn’t have the opportunity to play with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017, but he should begin the upcoming season as the quarterback’s top option and starting split end, or X receiver. Garcon will cost the 49ers over $9 million in 2018 and over $8 million in 2019, before his cap number jumps to $11.3 million in 2020 — which will be a hefty price tag for a 34-year old wide receiver.

WR Marquise Goodwin

Marquise Goodwin had a breakout year in 2017, and was held just short of 1,000 receiving yards thanks to a vicious Week-17 hit from Rams safety Blake Countess, which resulted in a concussion for Goodwin, and an ejection for Countess. After being underutilized during his time with the Buffalo Bills, Goodwin flourished in his first year under Shanahan, and stepped seamlessly into the 49ers’ No. 1 receiver role after Garcon’s injury. After the season, San Francisco rewarded Goodwin with a three-year extension that will keep the wideout under contract until 2021. With the return of Garcon, Goodwin should start the 2018 season at his more-natural flanker, or Z receiver, position.

WR Trent Taylor

The San Francisco 49ers’ fifth-round draft pick Trent Taylor was an important part of the team’s offense in 2017 — particularly on third downs. Although Taylor only amassed 430 yards over the course of his rookie year, he quickly became the 49ers’ go-to third-down receiver, first for quarterback Brian Hoyer, and later for Garoppolo. Taylor makes up for his small stature with his short-area quickness out of the slot and on punt returns — although he will likely give up his special-teams role to one of the Niners’ incoming rookies. As a slot receiver, Taylor is a roster lock for the forseeable future, as the 49ers have the second-year player signed under an inexpensive rookie contract for three additional seasons.

WR Dante Pettis

One of the San Francisco 49ers’ options to replace Taylor on special teams is rookie wide receiver Dante Pettis, who holds the NCAA record for punt return touchdowns. Lynch and Shanahan moved up in the second round to draft the Washington product, who projects to be first 49ers receiver off the bench in 2018. With the ability to play all three receiver positions, Pettis will get his share of playing time this season, although it remains to be seen whether the wideout — who flourished as a No. 2 receiver in college — will become a true No. 1 wide receiver at the NFL level.

WR Kendrick Bourne

Undrafted free agent Kendrick Bourne was a somewhat surprising addition to the 49ers’ initial 53-man roster last season, and was inactive for five of the team’s first six games. However, once Bourne saw the field, he impressed, and likely played his way into a spot on team’s 2018 roster. At 6-foot-1, Bourne was the 49ers’ tallest receiver for the majority of 2017, and will likely be team’s tallest wideout again in 2018. With a year of experience under his belt, and added chemistry with Garoppolo, the 49ers hope Bourne takes a major step forward in his sophomore season.

WR Richie James

The San Francisco 49ers’ seventh-round selection — and Locked on 49ers host Brian Peacocks’ seventh-round shadow draft pick — Richie James will get the first crack at a roster spot as the team’s sixth wide receiver. James was extremely productive in college, averaging over 100 catches, nearly 1,500 yards and 10 receiving touchdowns over his first two college seasons. James is undersized for NFL standards, but plays big for his size — and what James lacks in size, he makes up for with his quickness and elusiveness in the open field. The former wildcat quarterback could be an interesting option for the 49ers out of the slot, and is certainly a player to watch during the preseason.

WR Aldrick Robinson

Aldrick Robinson had a disappointing 2017, amassing just 260 yards in his first season with the 49ers. Robinson had his share of opportunities throughout the season, as he played in each game, but a catch rate under 40 percent limited him to just 19 total receptions. Robinson was signed last season for his versatility and ability to play all three receiver positions, but his skill-set is somewhat redundant with the addition of Pettis. While it makes sense for the 49ers to part ways with the wide receiver before he turns 30 in September, Robinson is a “Shanahan Guy” — following the coach from Washington to Atlanta to San Francisco — so he’ll have an opportunity to land a roster spot, even though the team could potentially release him with minimal cap impact.

WR Aaron Burbridge

Aaron Burbridge missed all of 2017 due to a hamstring injury, after being productive on special teams as a rookie the previous season. Burbridge has limited experience on offense at the NFL level, after catching just seven passes in 2016. Running back Raheem Mostert was the 49ers’ special-teams ace in 2017; if Burbridge expects to take that job from Mostert in 2018, he will need to add value on offense, in addition to special teams.

WR Victor Bolden

Along with Bourne, Victor Bolden was an undrafted free agent last season, but Bolden was mostly relegated to kickoff returns after flashing as a returner last preseason. Unfortunately, Bolden was less effective during the regular season, and found himself inactive after Week 6. The return man and slot receiver was activated for four games after Garcon’s injury, but failed to log a reception over his rookie season. Entering the offseason, Bolden faced an uphill battle to make the final roster, and his chances diminished after the 49ers’ draft, as well as the NFL’s kickoff rule changes. However, the nail in Bolden’s coffin came in the form of a four-game suspension handed down from the NFL last month. Now, Bolden will have to truly shine during the preseason for a chance to play for the 49ers in 2018.

WR Steven Dunbar

With the signing of undrafted free agent Steven Dunbar, the 6-foot-3 University of Houston product is the 49ers’ tallest wide receiver. However, since size is not a priority for Shanahan at the receiver position, Dunbar — who lacks speed for a wideout — will need to excel at route running and contested catches. With just 11 total touchdowns in four NCAA seasons, Dunbar will only snag a late roster spot or a place on the practice squad if he quickly learns how to become a better NFL red-zone target than he was at the college level.

WR Max McCaffrey

Max McCaffrey began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent in 2016, but failed to make the Oakland Raiders’ final roster. McCaffrey jumped between teams and practice squads before the San Francisco 49ers signed the wide receiver off the Green Bay Packers’ practice squad last December. Since the receiver has just one catch over his two-year NFL career, McCaffrey is a long-shot to make the team, but he’ll have the opportunity to make a name for himself over the preseason, particularly late in games and during the Niners’ final preseason contest.

Chris Wilson is the Lead Writer for Locked on 49ers, a FanRag Sports network partner. You may have seen Chris’ work on NFL game theory, statistical analysis and film breakdowns at FanSided, NinerNoise, 49erswebzone, Insidethe49 and others. Follow Chris on Twitter @cgawilson.

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

San Francisco 49ers

49ers: Assessing San Francisco’s free agent losses in 2018

Jon Chik

Published

on

Inevitably, NFL squads and their fans are bound to suffer some gut-punches in the form of productive (and sometimes beloved) players departing via free agency. The San Francisco 49ers, however, seem to have enjoyed a mostly painless free agency period, and we’re taking a look at the newly ex-Niners and assessing what their departure means to the organization and their former teammates.


Carlos Hyde

Seasons with San Francisco: 4

New team: Browns

New contract: Three years, $15.25 million ($8 million guaranteed)

The skinny: By far the most prominent player that departed this season, Hyde was a steady contributor for four seasons with San Francisco. Beginning as Frank Gore’s understudy in 2014, the former Ohio State standout produced 333 yards and four scores on 83 carries while occasionally spelling Gore before becoming the starter the following season.

That’s the role he enjoyed ever since, and while Hyde occasionally flashed potential to join the top tier of NFL running backs, maintaining that level of play proved quite challenging and staying on the field was never a sure thing, as he suited up 50 out of 64 possible games.

Hyde definitely had his moments, but it’s fair to say San Francisco was expecting more from a second-round draft pick, and Pro Football Focus wasn’t kind to him this past season. The four-year vet earned an overall mark of 51.9, putting him as the No. 50 of 58 qualified backs and dead last as both a receiver and pass blocker.

The 235-pounder lacks elite quickness, struggles in all facets of the passing game and is hardly the ideal running back in a Kyle Shanahan system, which requires speed and versatility. Hyde’s fate was likely sealed as soon as Shanahan was hired, as the Niners were never going commit to him the way the Browns did since he simply didn’t fit the scheme.

Despite having very little competition for carries over the past three seasons, Hyde never reached the 1,000-yard plateau and has hit the century mark just four times in his career.

Solid running back, but not the kind of free agent you break the bank for.

Who benefits the most: RB Jerick McKinnon – Hyde’s departure left a massive void in the backfield. While Matt Breida impressed last season in his change-of-pace role, the Niners weren’t realistically going to go all-in on a second-year undrafted running back. Instead, San Francisco forked over a four-year, $30 million contract to McKinnon, who is clearly the biggest beneficiary of Hyde’s exit now that he finally can be a feature bank (not to mention his vastly increased bank account). Despite never rushing for more than 570 yards in a season while playing a change-of-pace role in Minnesota, McKinnon became the league’s fourth-highest paid running back when he put the pen to the paper, and his signing was set in motion the moment the Niners decided to move on from Hyde.

G Brandon Fusco

Seasons with San Francisco: 1

New team: Falcons

New contract: Three years, $12.75 million ($5.5 million guaranteed)

The skinny: After spending six seasons in Minnesota, Brandon Fusco made a rather short stay in San Francisco and turned in a solid season, earning a 76.7 grade from PFF, good for a three-way tie as the league’s No. 18 qualified guard out of 79.

While Fusco represents one of the Niners’ biggest free agent losses, San Francisco’s brass likely believed there were more pressing needs during free agency and simply weren’t willing to match Atlanta’s offer, especially since the team still has three former first-round guards under contract.

Who benefits the most: G Josh Garnett – It isn’t too often a first-round pick is in danger of being cut after just two seasons in the league, but it’s become a very real possibility with Garnett, a Chip Kelly-Trent Baalke holdover. On the flip side, Garnett has a chance to open the season as a starter, and Fusco’s departure means the guard position is slightly less crowded, improving Garnett’s chances of cracking the 53.

CB Dontae Johnson

Seasons with San Francisco: 4

New team: Seahawks

New contract: One year, $1.3 million

The skinny: As a fourth-round draft pick in 2014, Johnson flashed just a bit of promise as someone who may provide a nice return. Certainly, he never looked like a superstar in the making, but competent cornerback play was a distinct possibility.

Instead, he quickly hit his (limited) ceiling and saw his play fall of a cliff as the years went by. Last season, Johnson received a 36.9 mark from Pro Football Focus, making him No. 118 cornerback out of 121 qualifiers after he graded out poorly across the board.

Johnson’s excavation from this unit is just one of several ousters orchestrated by San Francisco’s brass, as they’ve completely overhauled the secondary, which now has more potential than any Niner squad in recent seasons.

Who benefits the most: DB Jimmie Ward – While he’s had some underperformance issues himself since going in the first round (No. 30 overall) of the 2014 draft, Ward’s path to playing time gets a bit easier with Johnson out of the picture. Coach Kyle Shanahan talked up Ward’s versatility this offseason and noted that he’ll probably be the top backup at every position in the secondary. For a more detailed look at San Francisco’s controversial decision to retain Jimmie Ward via the fifth-year option from Locked On 49ers, click here.

LB/DE Tank Carradine

Seasons with San Francisco: 5

New team: Raiders

New contract: One year, $1.25 million

The skinny: Carradine amassed only 5.5 sacks in four seasons (44 games) with the red and gold and never became anything close to the disruptive force the Niners thought they were getting when they selected him in the second round (No. 40 overall) in 2013, though he did earn a 78.1 mark from PFF last season. While he didn’t see enough snaps to qualify for the edge defender rankings, that grade would have placed him at No. 47 out of 106 qualifiers.

Carradine at least provided some decent run defense with a mark of 82.6, though his 71.8 pass rush grade left much to be desired. Seeing as how Carradine is now 28 years old, it’s very unlikely San Francisco will experience significant regrets about letting the fringe starter walk in free agency, as he’s now slated for a rotational role with the Raiders.

Who benefits the most: DE Arik Armstead – Armstead, the No. 17 overall pick in 2015 who recently had his fifth-year option picked up by San Francisco, has yet to develop into a monstrous pass-rusher, but more snaps should be heading his way with Carradine out of town. Given that Armstead has only six sacks in three seasons, a new career-high is quite possible for 2018.

DE Aaron Lynch

Seasons with San Francisco: 4

New team: Bears

New contract: One year, $4 million ($1.25 million guaranteed)

The skinny: It’s been a tale of two careers for Lynch: The South Florida product flashed major potential with 12.5 sacks in 30 games in his first two seasons, then followed up with just 2.5 sacks in 14 games over the last two.

He’s not without upside, as PFF gave him a 78.7 mark last season, but the Niners weren’t going to bank on a breakout from the soon-to-be fifth-year player.

Factor in the former fifth-rounder’s conditioning issues and a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and there was virtually no chance he’d be brought back to San Francisco.

Who benefits the most: DE Jerry Attaochu – Attaochu, who came over as a free agent from San Diego this offseason, isn’t so different from Lynch. Both are entering their fifth season, each has flashed semi-enticing pass-rush skills, both have posted six-plus sacks in at least one campaign and been hampered by injuries. Perhaps Attaochu can do what Lynch has been unable to over the past two years and buoy the Niners’ pass rush.

TE Logan Paulsen

Seasons with San Francisco: 1

New team: Falcons

New contract: One year, $1.005 million

The skinny: As San Francisco’s third tight end a season ago, Paulsen rarely took the field and didn’t record a reception while backing up George Kittle and Garrett Celek.

Paulsen only saw 144 snaps last season, so his 50.3 PFF grade can be taken with a grain of salt, but it didn’t make sense for the Niners to retain the well-traveled veteran when they’ve got three younger in-house candidates with more upside.

Who benefits the most: TE Cole Hikutini/TE Ross Dwelley/TE Cole Wick: Locked On 49ers’ Chris Wilson recently broke down San Francisco’s tight ends, and while Kittle and Celek are near locks to crack the 53, Hikutini, Dwelley and Wick all have a better chance of snagging the No. 3 tight end role now that Paulsen has departed.

CB Leon Hall

Seasons with San Francisco: 1

New team: Raiders

New contract: One year, $915k

The skinny: Hall spent one season in red and gold and now moves on to his fourth team in as many seasons. The 33-year-old didn’t fare well in a part-time role last year, and he became expendable after several young defensive backs performed admirably last season.

It only made sense that the Niners would let him walk and continue his journeyman career elsewhere.

Who benefits the most: CB Tarvarius Moore — With San Francisco boasting a young and improving secondary, Hall wouldn’t have been assured a roster spot even if he’d stuck around, but now that he’s gone, San Francisco’s intriguing third-round draft pick could be ticketed for a more prominent role, even if he’ll perhaps start the season behind Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, K’Waun Williams and Jimmie Ward.

*Note: San Francisco’s free agents that have not signed elsewhere are not included in this article.

Don’t miss Locked On 49ers’ article on San Francisco’s incoming free agents.

Continue Reading

San Francisco 49ers

Training Camp Preview: Offensive Line

Brian Peacock

Published

on

© Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Podcast for Thursday, July 19

-Joe Staley is still elite
-4 of 5 starters are set
-Jonathan Cooper and Joshua Garnett will battle for RG
-LeVeon Bell will play under franchise tag, is he a fit for SF in 2019?

Continue Reading

San Francisco 49ers

49ers: Assessing San Francisco’s free agent additions for 2018

Jon Chik

Published

on

Whether bringing in a blockbuster signing or an under-the-radar pickup, the San Francisco 49ers were busy during free agency season and courted players of all shapes and sizes to bolster the red and gold in 2018.

We’re taking a look at everyone who put the pen to the paper during free agency to join the Niners’ family.

CB Richard Sherman

Former team: Seahawks

Age: 30

Experience: 8th season

Contract signed with 49ers: Three years, $39 million ($3 million guaranteed)

The skinny: How could we start anywhere else? Niner Faithful’s former public enemy No. 1 turned prized free agent pickup didn’t even need to start practicing to make an impact, as multiple reports from red-and-gold camp indicated that the veteran cornerback was all over the gridiron coaching up San Francisco’s young defensive backs.

What to expect: With Sherman now 30 years old and coming off an Achilles injury that ended his season during Week 10 last year, there are bound to be some question marks regarding Sherman’s ability to remain one of the NFL’s elite corners.

Still, Sherman was at the top of his game when he was healthy in 2017, earning praise from Pro Football Focus, which gushed over San Francisco’s signing of the outspoken antagonist. If there’s been any regression whatsoever, it’s barely noticeable, and a reinvigorated and healthy Sherman is just the man to anchor San Francisco’s fast-rising secondary and provide the defense with some swag.

Who benefits the most: CB Ahkello Witherspoon – After he was relegated to a healthy scratch for the first four games of last season due to a poor training camp, Witherspoon bounced back in a major way and quickly established himself as the 49ers’ unquestioned top cornerback down the stretch, but asking the Colorado product to produce like an All-Pro and become a fiery leader in just his second season may have been a tall order. Sherman’s got that covered for days, and Witherspoon can continue to learn from the best.

RB Jerick McKinnon

Former team: Vikings

Age: 26

Experience: 5th season

Contract signed with 49ers: Four years, $30 million ($12 million guaranteed)

The skinny: Simply put, Jerick McKinnon is a Kyle Shanahan guy. And it’s easy to see why: The Georgia Southern product is dangerous in space, has blinding speed, can bounce runs to the outside, possesses excellent receiving skills and can stand up to hard-charging linebackers in pass protection.

Comparisons to Devonta Freeman, whom Shanahan spent time with in Atlanta when the Falcons went to the Super Bowl, were running wild even before the ink dried on McKinnon’s new contract.

What to expect: Though some questioned the Niners when they made the relatively unproven McKinnon the fourth-highest paid running back in the NFL, it will be money well spent if he gets anywhere near Freeman’s level of production, and even while splitting time in Minnesota’s committee last season, Jet was Pro Football Focus’ eighth-ranked running back with a mark of 84.5.

The man he replaces, Carlos Hyde, came in at No. 50 out of 58 qualified backs with a 51.9 grade.

If they weren’t keen on making McKinnon a featured part of the offense and weren’t completely sold on his ability to rapidly ascend to a dangerous top-tier player, the Niners wouldn’t have broken the bank for Jet the way they did. Twenty-five-plus touches per game is a distinct possibility.

Who benefits the most: QB Jimmy Garoppolo – When Jimmy G led San Francisco to five victories in his only five starts of the season, he did so while standing next to Carlos Hyde, who graded out as the worst pass-blocking running back in the NFL out of 46 qualifiers (McKinnon ranked 11th).

While McKinnon can hold his own against hard-charging defenders in pass protection, he’s even more equipped to haul in receptions, and the elusive speedster will be a serious threat to do damage every time he hauls in a pass from the new franchise quarterback.

C Weston Richburg

Former team: Giants

Age: 27

Experience: 5th season

Contract signed with 49ers: Five years, $47.5 million ($16.5 million guaranteed)

The skinny: With four new starters across five positions on the offensive line since the start of last season, the 49ers have completely overhauled the unit, and Weston Richburg is your literal and figurative centerpiece. The 6’4”, 300-pound Colorado product played his first four seasons with the Giants after going in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2014 draft and graded out as Pro Football Focus No. 2 center with a phenomenal season in 2015.

What to expect: Over four years in the league, Richburg has established himself as one of the top young interior linemen in pro football. Richburg never quite replicated his outstanding sophomore season, but he’s arguably the standard-bearer for centers when it comes to pass-blocking, which is even more important when you’ve got a relatively inexperienced quarterback signed to a $137.5 million contract.

There is some injury concern, as he missed the final 12 games of last season with a concussion, though Richburg himself disagreed with the decision and had appeared in 47 of a possible 48 games the previous three seasons combined.

Richburg will be counted on to keep Jimmy G upright, and that shouldn’t be a problem for PFF’s No. 14-ranked free agent of 2018, as he’s permitted just four sacks on 2,112 pass-blocking snaps, a truly mind-blowing stat.

Though Richburg only played four games last season, he earned a 71.3 mark from Pro Football Focus, which would have been good enough to rank him as the league’s No. 13 center if he’d suited up enough times to qualify. Daniel Kilgore, the man he’s replacing, was No. 23 with a grade of 51.6.

Who benefits the most: The correct answer is “everyone,” but if we must narrow it down to one player, we’ll again go with Jimmy Garoppolo – Having the chance to step into your throws and drive the ball downfield is imperative in today’s NFL, and with Richburg acting as a brick wall in front of him, Garoppolo will get the chance to do exactly that on nearly every pass he throws this season.

G Jonathan Cooper

Former team: Cowboys

Age: 28

Experience: 6th season

Contract signed with 49ers: One year, $4.5 million ($4 million guaranteed)

The skinny: We’ve already provided a comprehensive breakdown on the curious case of Cooper and his fellow first-round offensive guard teammates in San Francisco, Laken Tomlinson and Josh Garnett. Now for the quick version.

To be blunt, Cooper is a career underachiever since being drafted No. 7 overall by the Cardinals in 2013, though it’s not all his fault. Much of Cooper’s ineffectiveness can be chalked up to a plethora of injuries.

What to expect: On the bright side, Cooper appeared in a career-high 13 games with the Cowboys last season and graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 35 guard out of 79 qualifiers with a mark of 67.0 (he was also No. 29 in run blocking).

Cooper has come to the right place, as he’ll have every chance to earn a starting gig a right guard, an opportunity that he may not have been afforded on some other teams.

He’ll face competition from the aforementioned Garnett (San Francisco’s first-round selection in 2016 who has similarly battled injuries and ineffectiveness) and veteran journeyman and free agent pickup Mike Person (more on him in a moment). Early indications suggest Cooper may have the edge on both.

Who benefits the most: OG Josh Garnett – If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a million times: Competition makes everyone better. With a strong training camp and preseason, either Cooper or 24-year-old Garnett could earn the right to line up between Weston Richburg and Mike McGlinchey at right guard for the first snap of the 2018 campaign, but both also face the very real possibility of being cut before we even get there, especially if the injury bug bites once again.

DE/LB Jeremiah Attaochu

Former team: Chargers

Age: 25

Experience: 5th season

Contract signed with 49ers: One year, $3 million

The skinny: One of San Francisco’s chief concerns heading into the offseason was finding someone via the draft or free agency that could consistently put some heat on the quarterback. Unfortunately for the red and gold, the lack of a bona fide speed rusher is still something of an issue heading into the upcoming season, but perhaps Attaochu has a chance to cure what ails the defense.

What to expect: Playing time was sparse for the Georgia Tech product in San Diego, though he showed encouraging signs as a situational pass-rusher in 2015 when he produced a career-high six sacks in 15 games.

Sadly, ankle, foot and hamstring injuries derailed his momentum, as he appeared in just eight games in 2016 and only four last year, so Niner fans will have to keep their fingers crossed that he can remain on the field before wishing for highly productive play.

Signed only for only one season at such a low cost, he’s a fine flier for John Lynch and company.

Who benefits the most: DT DeForest Buckner – Arguably San Francisco’s best defensive player, DeFo notched three sacks last season while racking up a league-leading 19 quarterback hits. If Attaochu can generate even a moderate amount of pressure and attract just a bit of attention from opposing offensive lines, it could be enough for Buckner to turn even more of those quarterback hits into sacks.

G/C Mike Person

Former team: Colts

Age: 30

Experience: 8th season

Contract with 49ers: One year, $915k

The skinny: The former seventh-round draft pick of the 49ers makes his way back to the bay after stops in Indianapolis, Seattle, St. Louis, Atlanta, Kansas City and a second stint with the Colts. He’s also been released/waived six times, but he’s worked hard to stay in the league as a versatile backup that can play all three positions on the interior line.

What to expect: Since he only started four games last season and only took the field for 317 snaps, Person didn’t qualify for PFF’s center rankings, but he still received a decent 70.5 mark and proved rock-solid in pass protection with a grade of 77.2.

Like Josh Garnett and Jonathan Cooper, Person will be gunning for the starting job at right guard, and this may be the best chance the well-traveled Person has ever had to crack the starting lineup and stick there.

Who benefits the most: G Josh Garnett and G Jonathan Cooper – Every training camp session and preseason snap counts, as all three guards duke it out for the right to line up between Weston Richburg and Mike McGlinchey for Week 1.

LB Korey Toomer

Former team: Chargers

Age: 29

Experience: 5th season

Contract with 49ers: One year, $880k

The skinny: Something of an under-the-radar signing by San Francisco, Toomer has a few factors working in his favor: Familiarity with Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh’s scheme after playing in a similar system last year in San Diego, a nose for the football (he’s forced five fumbles and broken up five passes in the last two seasons combined in limited snaps), and he’s coming off a strong season that saw him earn an 80.3 grade from PFF.

What to expect: While Toomer’s 257 defensive snaps weren’t enough to qualify him to be officially ranked, the Idaho product showed well when he was on the gridiron, as his grade would have placed him as the No. 23 linebacker in the NFL.

There could be some sneaky untapped potential waiting to be unlocked if Toomer can earn playing time with a strong training camp and preseason, and he’ll likely get his shot in the campaign’s first two games while Reuben Foster is suspended. Once again, it’s a savvy low-risk, high-reward signing.

Who benefits the most: LB Reuben Foster – Toomer is likely to see a surplus of snaps during Foster’s suspension. While he poses no threat to Foster’s job security, the veteran could play a critical mentor role for San Francisco’s maligned second-year playmaker, both on and off the field.

P Jeff Locke

Former team: Lions

Age: 28

Experience: 5th season

Contract with 49ers: One year, $790k

The skinny: Jeff Locke spent his first four seasons in Minnesota before failing to make the Colts last season and eventually latching on with the Lions for five games prior to being cut when the team’s starting punter returned from injury. Locke, who was drafted in the fifth round by the Vikings in 2013, has averaged 43.4 yards per punt since entering the league and has put 112 of his punts inside the 20 in five seasons.

What to expect: Teams only carry one punter, and Locke will have to dramatically outperform incumbent Bradley Pinion, who has averaged 43.7 yards per punt and has pinned the opposition inside the 20 on 90 occasions in three seasons with San Francisco since being selected in 2015 as a fifth-rounder just like Locke.

Who will benefit the most: P Bradley Pinion – A good old-fashioned training camp battle never hurt anybody (not even punters), and San Francisco’s fourth-year man will have to continue to perform to hold off the newcomer.

Continue Reading

Trending