Less than three weeks until the 49ers’ Training Camp opens and we start separating the men from the boys. One of my favorite times of the year.
All the OTA standouts and over-hyped draft picks get their first taste of reality when the pads go on and the hitting begins. Last year, highly touted 4th round RB pick Joe Williams wasn’t ready for the NFL show at all. Instead, undrafted Matt Breida came in and took his job right out from under his nose. The Niners then stashed Williams on IR for the year and he faces an uphill battle to make the team this year.
The most important draft pick this year is RT Mike McGlinchey. If he’s not ready for prime time, it will be a long year for QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the entire offense.
The most hyped pick this year is second round WR Dante Pettis. He could be a game-changer type of player or a bust, but he’s also the draft pick who whose failure would affect the team the least. Trent Taylor would just continue to perform the duties he did pretty well last year before Pettis was drafted to upgrade him.
When he was drafted, third round LB pick Fred Warner looked like he would have an important role for the 2018 season. Reuben Foster was facing a seriously long suspension and backup Brock Coyle was looking like an unattractive option to fill Foster’s shoes. But the Niners and Foster caught a break, the suspension was only two games, and the need for Warner to make an immediate impact diminished considerably.
One or more of the later round draft picks will probably surprise us, which is more than you could say when Trent Baalke was the GM. Last year, the final pick in the Niner draft, Adrian Colbert, stepped in at FS for an injured Jimmie Ward and played so well that Ward lost his job and has been shunted back to CB and all around fill-in DB this year.
All of this unpredictable mayhem and more will be coming to town in less than three weeks.