In part one of our right 53 Niners Live highlighted the defense. In part two, as is only right, we will turn our attention to the offense going inside and out starting with the Quarterbacks, followed by running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive line and finally, special teams.
First up, as stated, the Field general and point guard of the offense.
Quarterbacks (Keep Three)
Odd man out: Nick Mullens
Brian Hoyer should be, by all accounts, the incumbent starter come week one and serve as a solid veteran presence to emulate for the young and inexperienced Beathard, who Niners Live recently discussed will still be in a Developmental Stage. However, the Battle for number two could become interesting as the season progresses, especially if Beathard can make a smooth transition and use his experience of playing in a pro-style offense in college to his advantage. Mullens, at best, may be kept on the practice squad for emergency purposes in case of injuries.
Running Backs (Keep Five)
Odd man out: Matt Brieda, Raheem Mosert, Tyler MacConkey
UDFA Matt Brieda has already impressed. According to one assistant coach (via Kevin Jones of KNBR), he was the best rookie on the field during the first minicamp and seems to fit very well with coach Shanahan’s zone running scheme. However, Bibbs experience and familiarity with GM John Lynch should keep him around and make for an intriguing battle for the final spot on a unit with good depth.
Wide Receivers (Keep Six)
Odd man out: Bruce Ellington, Aaron Burbridge, Victor Bolden, Kendrick Bourne, B.J. Johnson III, Deandre Carter
The Competition in the upcoming training camp and preseason will dictate a lot of who stays on the roster in this position group. With the top five pretty much a lock, we will give Smelter the edge to grab the last slot because of his size; 6’2 and 227 lb., 11-inch hands, physical style of play and ability to overcome adversity, making him the perfect candidate to be the heir apparent for an aging Pierre Garcon as discussed previously by Niners Live. Bruce Ellington, if all the stars align, could give Smelter a run for his money, especially if he can make a case to be a special team’s ace. However, his injury plagued past and poor conditioning as pointed out in the In Jeopardy report will more than likely place him on the outside looking in.
Tight Ends (Keep Three)
Odd man out: Garrett Celek, Cole Hikutini, Logan Paulsen
Kittle has already impressed and looks to be the standout of this group early in the offseason as Niners Live highlighted in his Developmental Stage. Over the last few seasons, Vance McDonald has struggled to assert himself as a dependable starter. But he has shown the ability to be a big play waiting to happen and would serve as a great complement to Kittle in a slot machine-by- committee approach. Blake Bell still seems to be sort of a mystery. His physical intangibles and special team’s versatility could serve to add value to the depth chart. However, if McDonald or Bell fail to prove themselves worthy during training camp/preseason and step up to the challenge, look for Logan Paulsen to be kept around to serve as a mentor for the younger talent and a dependable depth option who has familiarity with coach Kyle Shanahan’s offensive scheme.
Offensive Line (Keep Eight)
- Joe Staley
- Trent Brown
- Garry Gilliam
- Jeremy Zuttah
- Daniel Kilgore
Odd man out: Richard Levy, Erik Magnuson, Andrew Lauderdale, John Theus, Norman Price, John Flynn, Darrell Williams Jr, Tim Barnes
This group, unlike many of the others, will feature mostly returning starters from last year with some added veteran quality depth. Kilgore and Zuttah, because of their versatility to play both guard and center, would make the most sense to be the best starting tandem at those positions, something 49ers beat writer for NBC Sports, Matt Maiocco, attested to in a recent podcast. Zane Beadles, who also showed his versatility last year filling in at multiple positions during the seasons, should also find himself in a starting role especially if Joshua Garnett continues to disappoint and not establish himself as a solid building block. Garry Gilliam, although not very impressive last season in Seattle, does bring veteran experience and depth that could prove to be valuable late in the season in case of injuries.
- Bradley Pinion
- Kyle Nelson
Let’s make one thing clear: the offseason is still in its infancy stages and we have still yet to get down into nitty gritty dawg days of summer. Once the pads and masks go on show time begins. This list may be subject to change based on performance during training camp and preseason games and the always unpredictable factor of injuries.
One thing is for sure, this 49ers offense will look drastically different than it has the past few seasons. With Head coach Kyle Shanahan installing his new high powered offense, which was touted as the best offensive scheme in the league, the overall success will depend on how quickly this unit can gel and be of one accord, making it even more important to proceed with caution when making cuts and deciding whom to keep. All eyes will be on the new regime to see if they can assimilate the right 53 pieces in the process of asserting themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the 2017 season.
Please join us again soon on Niners Live, the home of the fan and analyst.
As always, keep your eyes wide open, 49er fans. Niners Live will be watching with you. #eyeswideopen and often imitated but never duplicated… Go Niners
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Irvin Johnson Staff Writer at Niners Live. Co-Author, Editor Sequoia Sims.