As Kyle Shanahan said (in so many words) earlier this year: The spring is for learning the playbook, the summer is where the roster jockeying begins. With that in mind, here’s how the depth chart looked when the spring sessions ended as well as some of the storylines to come when training camp gets underway. Players report on July 27; the first practice is July 28.
First up: defensive line.
LDE: Tank Carradine, Ronald Blair, Solomon Thomas, Noble Nwachuckwu
NT: Earl Mitchell, Quinton Dial, D.J. Jones
DT: DeForest Buckner, Chris Jones, Dial
RDE: Arik Armstead, Aaron Lynch, Pita Taumoepenu, Elvis Dumervil
* Absent the rookie minicamp, Thomas didn’t take part in any spring practices. It would be a shock if the No. 3 overall pick in the draft isn’t a Week 1 starter, but how long will it take him to overtake Carradine, who seemed more at home at defensive end in a 4-3 scheme? Furthermore, will Thomas play defensive tackle on passing downs? That was where he was most effective last year at Stanford.
* Dumervil did not take part in any practices, either. Is the Achilles injury that dampened his last two seasons fully behind him? The plan seems to be for Armstead to play right defensive end, or Leo, on base downs and for Dumervil to enter on obvious passing situations.
* A quality the coaching staff treasures: hustle. Two players have that trait in abundance — Blair and Chris Jones. Will they land a roster spot at the expense of a more established player like, say, Lynch?