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.
Next up: cornerback.
RCB: Rashard Robinson, Ahkello Witherspoon, Adrian Colbert
LCB: Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser, Will Davis, Zach Franklin
NCB: K’Waun Williams, Will Redmond, Reaser, Prince Charles Iworah
* Robinson and Johnson were the first-team cornerbacks in spring practice when everyone was healthy. When there were a few nicks and minor injuries, third-round pick Ahkello Witherspoon got a chance to play with the first-string group. Physically, Witherspoon is an excellent match for the press-style defense the 49ers are playing this season (so are Robinson and Johnson). And his footwork was honed through years of playing soccer. Like defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and linebacker Reuben Foster, Witherspoon has a strong chance of becoming a defensive starter early in the season.
* The 49ers drafted Redmond in the third round last year when he was recovering from an ACL injury. Some believed that if he had been healthy at the time he would have been considered a late first-round talent. He’s been competing at nickel cornerback but would have to overtake veteran K’Waun Williams, the new regime’s first free-agent pickup and someone who has a background with defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley. Williams v. Redmond promises to be one of the better battles of training camp.
* Reaser is interesting. He also received first-string repetitions at outside cornerback during the spring (when Robinson was injured) and can play the nickel position as well. He is perhaps the team’s most versatile cornerback. … The 49ers signed Davis last month. He played cornerback in the spring but also is capable of playing safety. … The coaches looked at promising rookie free safety Lorenzo Jerome at nickel cornerback late in the spring. If he shows versatility there, it might mean they keep an extra safety at the expense of a cornerback.