Jeff Chiu-Associated Press

Jeff Chiu-Associated Press



The 49ers have a number of players that have been thrust into starting roles due to losses. Here is a list of the players most likely to succeed in their new starting roles as well as why they will succeed and flourish at that position.

In this writer's of opinion, backed by 32 years as a 49er fan and 49er family dating back to John Brodie and Kezar Stadium, there is a factor that can almost guarantee a great match for player and organization. Some 49er fans believe that scheme compatibility is crucial. Other 49er fans are convinced that toughness is the key ingredient. The 49er faithful know that the x-factor needed to be great is intelligence. Ever notice that there aren't any IQ test numbers being pushed at the combine along side the 40 time? Yet, the capability to learn is the focus of Jim Tomsula's new direction for the entire coaching staff. OTA's, mini camps and preseason still do not compare to regular and post season pressure of retaining the playbook in a moment like … say uhh ... THE CATCH (part 1 and 2). That's when we REALLY find out who cuts the mustard.

To write this list, in the order it's in, will perk some ears up. A few names you might expect to see aren't there! Just remember, this is an organization that traded Joe Montana. To be a 49er faithful, you must learn to embrace the overall movement of the business and the best choice in front of you as a general manager or owner.

Torrey Smith
Torrey, who has a criminal justice degree and doesn't drink alcohol, will be the biggest impact to the squad this year for 2 simple reasons. His IQ is insane accurate and he has deceptive speed at the end of the route like the G.O.A.T., Jerry Rice, did. Add the fact that he will be talked about constantly as the "Kapped" Crusader's career resurrection piece, and you have the makings of a commentator frenzy. With all that attention, he will be forced to produce.

Michael Wilhoite
Michael will be a huge impact on the 49ers this year because, as every 49er Faithful knows, a 3-4 defense feeds the linebackers. Michael was smart enough to play six positions in college, including quarterback, and this former Omaha Nighthawk believes that team beats out talent. We will hear his name many, many times.

Bradley Pinion
The Punt-a-Saures Rex HAS ARRIVED! It seems like if your not 6-foot-6 or above, you aren't gonna make it on the 49ers. Bradley Pinion was so impressive, his presence ignited the instant trade of Andy Lee. He played basketball for three years and soccer (goalkeeper) for four years in high school. In college? Yeah ... 55 punts inside the 20 with only two touchbacks. That takes analysis and research. He is also another Carolina product that was a trend in the 49ers draft this year. Let the dinosaur nicknames begin! (Bradliosaur)

Shareece Wright
Too easy. USC "STAR" Student Athlete in Los Angeles. Shined in San Diego and has playoff experience. Now he moves north. Different part of California, but same result. His work with the Juvenile Diabetes Fund has kept him humble. Wanna nickname this guy "SWOOP!" but haven't seen him work in gold and crimson, so i will reserve judgement — for now.

Erik Pears
In wrestling, he was a three-time League Title performer and has journeyed through 4 organizations. Turns out this "Centurion" from NFL Europe caught Tomsula's eye a long time ago. Not much about this guy online, but he has been married for over 5 years and it takes a smart man to lead a family through Europe and back, plus mild years with the Raiders and Broncos AND STILL STAY MARRIED! Kudos.

I look forward to the preseason and all our last minute pick ups. Let's see what Baalke has behind door #3. This is K-Ross Kovington reminding you, authentic fans wear authentic jerseys.