SANTA CLARA, California — Saturday morning training for the Niners was fast paced and competitive. It was pretty obvious, from start to finish, how talented this group is. Oh, and Trey Lance capped it off with a nice cross-body throw where he stepped up and broke the bag to his left, then tossed to the left to find Ray-Ray McCloud at the goal line. The rest? Please …
1) You can’t walk across a field in the Niners facility without someone bringing up Brandon Aiyuk. He had a strong finish until 2021, of course, and he has only built on that, becoming a more complete receiver in a place that demands a lot from the position. From a skills perspective, his ability to win in man cover should be huge for the 49ers to take advantage of defenses overplaying their vaunted run game (which now involves Trey Lance).
2) The linebacker group is arguably the best in the NFL. Fred Warner needs no introduction. But Dre Greenlaw and Azeez Al-Shaarr’s play has attracted attention early on in the camp. Picking roles for everyone should be fun/challenging for DeMeco Ryans.
3) The corner situation should be better than at any point in Kyle Shanahan’s six years in San Francisco. Emmanuel Moseley looks set to take another step into his fifth season, and Charvarius Ward, a large-scale free agent, has adapted well by spending more time off the ball than in Kansas City.
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4) The depth when walking back is suddenly very solid. Elijah Mitchell is finally healthy and his speed of 4.3 can be clearly seen on the practice field. Ty Davis-Price showed real physicality with the pads underway. And Trey Sermon, a third-round pick last year, looks poised to take another step. They could all play a part in helping the Niners manage Deebo Samuel a little differently than last year.
5) The interior of the attack line is the big question. Young guards Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford have a lot of talent but not much experience – so that could be an issue early on, with the idea of the position becoming a strength as the season progresses. And there’s a center game between Jake Brendel and Daniel Brunskill. Those three spots, plus the guy in line right behind them, will probably go a long way in determining how good the Niners are on offense.
Previous training camp ends:
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