Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports


Roundtable: Which 49ers players jumped on or off your radar during training camp?

Aug 9, 2019 at 11:38 AM0


Training camp has wrapped up, and we asked the 49ers Webzone staff to share which player or players jumped on or off its radar. The writers were given the option of picking one player for either or one for each.

Below are the responses in the order in which they were received.

Matthew Barr


On radar: WR Richie James

Following a less than stellar rookie season, I was not very high on wide receiver Richie James. His inability to garner playing time despite all of the injuries in the receiving corps was a big red flag for me. That said, James has been a bright spot for Kyle Shanahan's offense throughout the beginning of training camp. He has hooked up with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for multiple long touchdowns during the 11-on-11 sessions in practice and is attracting the right kind of attention.

James still faces an uphill battle to crack the 53-man roster with the receiving group being among the most competitive on the entire team. His performances in the preseason games will make or break his career in San Francisco. James could not only carve out a roster spot, but he could also be the reason a veteran receiver like Marquise Goodwin is dealt before cutdown day.

Peter Panacy


On radar: WR Richie James

One player who has shown a lot of flash during training camp has been wide receiver Richie James. It seems as if he's making a big play each and every session, which bodes well for his chances cracking the 53-man roster. He might not unseat slot receiver Trent Taylor come Week 1, but given James' return abilities and his camp efforts, he's certainly gone from the roster bubble to what would look like a near lock. That's great for a fringe player in year two of his pro career.

Off radar: WR Jordan Matthews

I was hoping to see a little more from veteran wideout Jordan Matthews, who was making some serious strides during organized team activities. Those seem to have fallen off a bit during training camp, though, while fellow receiver Kendrick Bourne appears to be on the ascent. Matthews has some flexibility, and head coach Kyle Shanahan seems to like the idea of using Matthews out of the slot, adding to his versatility. But if Matthews isn't making a name for himself as much as he was earlier this offseason, there's a good chance he finds himself off the roster by Week 1.

Matt Andruscavage


On radar: LB Dre Greenlaw

While I figured Dre Greenlaw would compete for a role at the SAM linebacker position, I did not foresee him as this much of a contender for a starting role.

After the Draft, the majority of the reports I read had Greenlaw as a backup linebacker with a chance to be a Special Teams ace. During this year's training camp, Greenlaw has been outstanding. He looks aggressive and much better in pass coverage than many had thought. He has been involved in running plays that have ended in losses, snagged interceptions, and has impressively covered George Kittle and Tevin Coleman.

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk was asked about the rookie linebacker, and he said, "He seems to have a nose for the ball. He's not timid." That is exactly what we all want to hear, and so far, Greenlaw has surpassed expectations. If he turns into a productive starter, that would be two quality linebackers (Fred Warner) that this front office has found outside the first couple rounds.

Sasha D. Robinson


On radar: CB Jason Verrett

Note: This was written before Jason Verrett's recent ankle injury was sustained.

He is coming off of an ACL injury, and I have not read about him sitting out any practices. Verrett looks as if he is back to Pro Bowl form when he is covering the receivers and locking them down. If his injury history is behind him, and the 49ers pass rush is improved, he and Richard Sherman could be the best cornerback tandem in the league. He could possibly be the steal of free agency. It does not look as if Ahkello Witherspoon will be starting opposite of Sherman.

Bret Rumbeck


On radar: WR Jalen Hurd

I'll tell you a secret: wide receiver battles are my least favorite part of training camp. But rookie wide receiver Jalen Hurd has undoubtedly made this year's fight for a roster spot much more enjoyable. He's been the catalyst for two scuffles due to his intense blocking. Of course, you don't want a team fighting with itself, but it feels like the 49ers have lacked this kind of intensity going into a season. He's someone I'll be watching this Saturday.

Off radar: G Joshua Garnett

In previous commentaries, I've noted that veteran guard Joshua Garnett would not make the final 53-man roster. Oddly, some fans felt he'd make the team. I reevaluated my position and quietly thought that Garnett would make the squad, but remain a reserve.

But, in typical Garnett fashion, he made it through a few practices before undergoing surgery to fix a dislocated finger. I'm unclear why Garnett couldn't get his hand wrapped to protect his finger, and he could continue to fight for a roster spot. We're not talking about shredded ligaments or shattered bones - it's a finger dislocation. I wouldn't be shocked to see him traded or cut after he makes it back on the practice field.

Zachary Labar


On radar: LB Fred Warner

Most of us are aware of Fred Warner, as he managed to show splash plays and leadership skills in his rookie season. Moreover, his presence in training camp has been pronounced. Multiple coaches have been quick to reward Warner for his progress. Specifically, it was inspiring to see Saleh discuss Warner's ability to match his play/coverage instincts with the urgency of the pass rush. As noted, Saleh's defense will be at its best with cover-3 pattern reading players twho will be quick-to-react. With Buck, Bosa, Ford, and co. accelerating opposing QB's internal clocks and disrupting the run game, I see this defense taking a major leap- and Warner will be leading the charge.

Honorable Mention: S Tarvarius Moore

Tarvarius Moore has jumped on my radar in no time. I love seeing him back at his natural position. He seems to have made a quick impact, as Shanahan and Saleh continue to offer steady praise. While Saleh downplayed his readiness as a NFL starter, he should win the No. 2 FS job (based on his rep count, and starting over Colbert already). Being a high-profile player, Moore could do damage this year- especially if Ward continues to miss some time throughout the season.

Jason Aponte


On radar: LB Dre Greenlaw

Dre Greenlaw by all accounts has been a force in camp and considering his draft price has a chance to be an impact player immediately. After the Reuben Foster debacle, John Lynch may have replaced him at a much lower cost. I'm excited to see him in preseason action, and we'll have a better understanding of how he fits with this defense. It felt obvious to name Deforest Buckner and Nick Bosa, but both have been huge forces with the front seven and should get 49ers fans very excited for what's to come.

I'm very impressed with the receiver competition and in particular Deebo Samuel, Trent Taylor, and Kendrick Bourne. Taylor seems to be all the way back from his back injury and surely will be leaned on by Jimmy in tough spots. Deebo has continued to show that he's a playmaker after the catch and Bourne has made a nice leap this camp. I predict Bourne makes the final roster after what he's shown so far.

Levin T. Black


On radar: WR Richie James

Considered by many a likely cut coming into camp, James has made a number of big plays that make him a must keep. He has value on special teams as a returner but, according to practice reports, has improved considerably as a receiver.

He's still just the fifth receiver at best right now, but that's not something I thought likely coming into training camp.

Off radar: G Joshua Garnett

Calling Joshua Garnett injury-prone seems too simple. He's been injured so frequently there needs an adjective added to make it special.

I believe Garnett could be a starting quality guard in the NFL, but he simply can't stay healthy. Another training camp gone with Garnett barely getting time to show if he's developed.

Maybe he's shown enough for the coaches in the few practices he's had this year and last, but he's looking like a cut.

Justin Wong


On radar: WR Dante Pettis

For as crowded as the wide receiver group is this year, few on the roster are actually proven commodities. Marquise Goodwin and Jordan Matthews are the veterans of the group but have been hampered with injuries in recent years.

After trading up in the second round last year, it's encouraging to see a strong camp out of Dante Pettis as he enters his sophomore season. His route running continues to impress while getting reps against the likes of Richard Sherman should pay dividends this upcoming season. All signs point to Pettis taking that next step for a team in need of consistent pass catchers.

Off radar: G Joshua Garnett

There was supposed to be competition at the right guard spot, but once again, former 2016 first-round pick Joshua Garnett remains hampered with injuries (finger). He's expected to miss a couple of weeks after having surgery on his finger--which is frustrating considering he's never completed a full training camp. Mike Person should take the starting role, but you would have liked to see more competition from the group.

Factor in that center Weston Richburg also remains sidelined, it gets a bit concerning when evaluating the interior offensive line in training camp.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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