The San Francisco 49ers kick off their organized team activities (OTAs) on Monday with the media getting its first look at the players on Tuesday. While they won't be in pads, participants will be taking part in 11-on-11 drills for the first time this offseason.

"We get to practice against each other and kind of start the process," defensive lineman Arik Armstead said last week. "We've been working out really hard this offseason, but now we get to actually play some football. We'll get out there, no pads or anything yet, but it's still 11-on-11, and we get to have some competition. I'm excited for that, and I'm sure the rest of my team is too."

The 49ers are a hot pick to be much improved in 2018. They do, however, have some question marks and interesting stories heading into OTAs.

I'll refrain from adding Reuben Foster as a question mark until his future with the 49ers becomes clear. A judge will decide on Wednesday if his case, which involved three felony charges, will go to trial.

Also not on the list is Richard Sherman, who is still recovering from the ruptured Achilles he sustained in November. While he won't be participating in OTAs, he is expected to fill one of the two starting outside cornerback roles on defense.

How has Jimmy Garoppolo's learning process progressed?


Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was traded to the 49ers on October 30 and saw his first start with his new team on December 3. Between that time, he was working hard to learn the playbook. Garoppolo's new teammates had an entire offseason and then 11 games to do what he spent just under five weeks doing. It wasn't a recipe for success. How could he possibly make a difference given that timetable?

Garoppolo led the 49ers to two wins against the Chicago Bears and then the Houston Texans before knocking off three playoff teams to end the 2017 season. He did it after a crash course in Shanahan's highly-regarded offense and increased his record as a starter to 7-0.

This offseason is Garoppolo's first within Kyle Shanahan's offense. He'll finally be able to learn the playbook at a more reasonable pace.

Shanahan is excited to see what the new face of the 49ers can do with a bigger sample size of games. Garoppolo has not yet faced much adversity on the football field.

"I'm looking forward to watching him play through a season," Shanahan said in April. "I know he's going to have some highs and I know he's going to have some lows and I want to see how he responds to it, how his teammates respond to it. Playing quarterback in this league isn't just about how talented you are and how good you are, it's how you can respond to all this pressure that really not many people can relate to except probably an NFL quarterback can."

A look at the reworked offensive line


Gone is right tackle Trent Brown, who was sent to the New England Patriots during the draft. Gone is longtime starting center Daniel Kilgore, who was traded to the Miami Dolphins for practically nothing. The 49ers' offensive line has seen an overhaul this offseason as the team worked to protect its $137.5 million investment in Garoppolo.

Veteran Joe Staley remains at left tackle with rookie Mike McGlinchey set to anchor the right side. Free agent acquisition Weston Richburg will replace Kilgore at center. Offseason competition will clear up who starts at the two guard spots.

The 49ers released veteran guard Zane Beadles, leaving them with Laken Tomlinson, Joshua Garnett, Erik Magnuson, and the recently acquired Jonathan Cooper fighting for the two starting jobs.

Garnett, a 2016 first-round draft pick, is the wildcard here.

"We challenged Josh," Shanahan said in March. "We wanted him to take the year to get his body in the best shape possible. Seeing him at the end of the year in December, it looked like he took advantage of his time off. He got his body fat down and his weight down. I think he's in the best shape of his life, and he's given himself a chance to help us this year."

What's the plan to generate a pass rush?


The 49ers did not address the pass rush this offseason – at least they didn't sufficiently do so in the eyes of fans. Elvis Dumervil, who led the team in sacks last year, is no longer with the team. During the offseason, the 49ers re-signed Cassius Marsh and added former Los Angeles Chargers edge defender Jeremiah Attaochu.

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Many believed the 49ers would add a pass rusher during the draft. However, each round passed without the 49ers selecting an impact player who could contribute in 2018.

Marsh and Attaochu will battle Eli Harold and second-year player Pita Taumoepenu for playing time as the 49ers desperately look to improve a defense that tied for 26th in sacks (SF and Miami with 30) last year. Even Arik Armstead, whose fifth-year option was picked up this offseason, is still in the discussion.

Shanahan explained the team's reseasoning for failing to address the pass rush during the draft.

"You've got to be pretty good to beat out [Cassius Marsh]," he said. "You've got to be pretty good to beat out [Arik Armstead]. You don't just get guys. If you get them, someone else has got to get cut, and we've got a pretty good group. We're going to look to improve at every position all the time, but people don't realize that it's not just stockpiling people, and hey, we've got 20 pass rushers, let's see which one turns up.

"You only get a few, and in order to bring one in, who are they replacing? We don't have guys that are just easy to replace. We've got a bunch of good players, and again, it's a good problem, but we'll always look for better, but that's not an easy thing to do."

Garoppolo will have veteran Pierre Garçon as a target


Veteran wide receiver Pierre Garçon, who was on pace for his third career 1,000-yard season last year before sustaining a neck injury during Week 8, was officially placed on injured reserve five days after the 49ers traded for Garoppolo. The quarterback never got to work with Garçon in a game or on the practice field.

"Pierre is healing up," Shanahan said in January. "He's going to be good to go, and I'm pumped to get him back for OTAs."

Marquise Goodwin benefited from the injured receiver's absence, reaching career-highs in receptions (56) and receiving yards (962).

Garoppolo will have both Garçon and Goodwin at his disposal in 2018. The two receivers have 15 years of NFL experience between them, and the 49ers added Dante Pettis in the second round of last month's draft. Trent Taylor, who became a reliable target for Garoppolo as a rookie last season, figures to remain a factor in the passing game.

"That was a big loss when we lost Pierre and put a lot of pressure on other guys," Shanahan said. "It didn't happen right away, but throughout that time Pierre was gone, Marquise took it to another level, (Kendrick) Bourne ended up helping us out. Trent Taylor started playing at a higher level. (George) Kittle came back, finished strong. (Garrett) Celek, to me, played at a higher level. A lot of guys really stepped up to that challenge."

Jerick McKinnon's role in Kyle Shanahan's offense


The 49ers were so smitten with Jerick McKinnon that they got into a bit of a bidding war with teams like the New York Jets and made the running back the fourth-highest-paid player at his position. The versatile McKinnon will replace Carlos Hyde as the team's featured back and likely share snaps with second-year running back Matt Breida.

Speed is a theme among the 49ers' group of running backs. McKinnon, who recorded a 4.41-second pre-draft 40-yard dash in 2014, isn't even the fastest player within the group.

Year 40-time
Raheem Mostert 2015 4.32
Matt Breida 2017 4.37
Jerick McKinnon 2014 4.41
Joe Williams 2017 4.41
Jeremy McNichols 2017 4.49

"Even though [McKinnon is] smaller in stature, the one thing that we grew comfortable with is that he plays bigger than that," general manager John Lynch said earlier this month. "He's a real strong back. While his stature is not the biggest guy in the world, he plays big. And the one thing that's undeniable – he can roll. He's fast.

"It's fun to look at our halfback room, and I think the slowest guy out of the five we have right now runs a 4.49. These guys can all fly. Jerick is one of those guys. Not only can he fly, he's a matchup nightmare. He can run these choice routes where, 'Ok, you want to guard me on the inside? We'll go out. You want to guard me on the outside? We'll go in.'

"I think Kyle (Shanahan) will do a tremendous job of exploiting him on linebackers and such. We're really excited to see Jerick as part of our offense."