No position group, in my opinion, has a greater gap between starters and backups. This is a pretty easy group to judge, but I'm sure there will still be disagreement. It is Niner Talk after all.
Roster Spots: 4-5
Locks: Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman
Competition:Michael Wilhoite, Dan Skuta, Nathan Stupar, Nick Moody
Possible position change: Darius Fleming
Outlook: We know about the starters. Barring injury, they'll be manning the middle. The competition is the back-ups. I am a fan of Michael Wilhoite. He was fantastic on special teams and he has the size to be able to develop into a playable back-up. Skuta and Stupar will try to make their case on special teams. Skuta has the experience advantage but Stupar will get every opportunity to out play him. Fleming is the wild card. The OLB position is suddenly stacked. Fleming definitely has talent, but his injury finds him a year behind. I think his only shot at the roster is at this position. Moody is a guy that probably needs a year to develop. I would love to see him on the practice squad, similar to Wilhoite's development. He has an outside shot at the roster if he proves to be a ST stud, but he offers the least on the defensive side at this point.