With San Francisco 49ers rookie camp nearing completion, the next few weeks are sure to be full of speculation regarding the direction second-year coach Jim Harbaugh plans to take the 53-man roster following training camp.
After a stellar 13-3 season and a fumbled chance at Super Bowl glory, expectations are high for the Niners entering 2012. Following what most considered a successful first year by Coach Harbaugh, the Niner Nation has been anxiously anticipating how the team will react to a full offseason and training camp under Harbaugh's watchful eye.
Following a surprising run to the NFC Championship Game, it would be easy for the San Francisco front office to set the offseason cruise control and trust player growth/system familiarity to get this franchise its sixth Lombardi Trophy. Coach Harbaugh has never been about "easy."
Instead, the 49ers' offseason was spent entirely in fifth gear, signing Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs away from the Giants, drafting offensive playmakers and coaxing a little-known receiver from Marshall University out of retirement. The San Francisco 49ers then proceeded to re-sign all 11 defensive starters from the NFL's best unit in 2011 and even spent a little time flirting with...er...evaluating...Peyton Manning.
Now that the majority of the acquisitions are over and mini-camps are nearing completion, it is time to take a look at the team Jim Harbaugh is putting together to to get "The First to Five" trophy No. 6.