49ers Veterans Who Have Been Put on Notice This Offseason
With rookie mini-camps right around the corner, its time we start looking ahead to training camp and the eventual battles that await.
While many can agree that the San Francisco 49ers are loaded for the upcoming season, it still leaves some doubt about several key positions come the start of the regular season.
Forget quarterback or running back controversies, instead the Niners will likely have some low key battles for situational players and such. Nevertheless, it should give 49ers fans something to talk about as the dread of the offseason continues.
Here are four veterans who should watch their back, figuratively speaking, of course.
Jonathan Goodwin (C)
In all honesty, I've never been a huge fan of Goodwin. In fact, I believe the 12 year veteran is a weak link on a line filled with All-Pro's and Pro Bowlers.
However, I have to give Goodwin his due for his performance this past season. He made huge strides since last season in both pass blocking and run blocking. Usually, you don't see 10 year veterans improving as they age.
While his performance this past season was admirable, the long time veteran could be beat out in training camp by one of the younger offensive lineman.
The 49ers love both Daniel Kilgore and Joe Looney as future starters at either guard or center. Kilgore played behind Goodwin last year, and Looney was the backup to Mike Iupati.
Both guys have the versatility to play all over the interior of the 49ers line. With Boone solidified at right guard, the only other vulnerable position will be at center.
With Goodwin up there in age, and a possible decline in play forthcoming, the 49ers could give one of the young guns a shot at center.
Mario Manningham(WR)/Kyle Williams (WR)
Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams are both in a precarious situation come training camp. With both receivers suffering serious injuries last season, it leaves the 49ers with a cloudy situation at receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree.
Manningham showed promise last season before his injury, but how healthy will the receiver be come regular season?
The same can be said for Williams, who made huge strides in 2012 after a so-so season in 2011. Though, it's hard not to improve when many fans pinned you the goat of the year in 2012. That's what two botched fumbles will do to a guy.
Anyway, the 49ers have somewhat addressed the position with free agent signee, Anquan Boldin. Also, don't forget Quinton Patton, who has already showed to be a fan favorite in the bay area.
Other options include 2012 first round pick A.J. Jenkins, and lets not forget another Jim Harbaugh favorite in Ricardo Lockette.
The 49ers have a ton of options to consider, but if you're injured, it puts you at a significant disadvantage. That's what Manningham and Williams face in the near future.
Carlos Rogers (DB)
Carlos Rogers played a huge role in the revitalization of the 49ers last season. His playmaking ability, combined with his confidence and versatility made him a popular player in the bay area.
However, Rogers' play dropped off quite a bit last season. This was after the 49ers gave the nine year veteran a rather expensive four year deal.
The 49ers have brought little competition to push the veteran, and the other Niners defensive backs. Nnamdi Asomugha proved to be a great signing for the price, but the 49ers failed to address the corner position in the draft until the seventh round.
I like Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver on the outside, which will probably leave Nnamdi in a somewhat reserve role. However, I don't really see a role for Rogers.
Yes, the 49ers will likely play him in the slot some, but in all honesty, Brown is really their best inside defender. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will have to make some tough decisions.
We'll see how this works out, but as of right now, I'm giving Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke the benefit of the doubt.
Parys Haralson (OLB)
Parys Haralson is another 49ers player coming off a serious injury. Haralson didn't play in 2012, though the veteran pass rusher would have been regulated to a situational role with the emergence of Aldon Smith.
Haralson was quite a force for the 49ers opposite Ahmad Brooks, when starting. The veteran was a solid pass rusher, while also proving stout against the run. He returned under a one year deal for the 49ers in 2013.
However, the 49ers added an interesting player in Corey Lemonier in the third round. Lemonier is a relentless pass rusher, and is an ideal fit as a situational pass rusher on third down.
Lemonier can essentially play a similar role to what Aldon Smith did in his rookie season before being pegged as a starter in year two.
Haralson won't be cut, but he could have a hard time finding playing time, especially if the rookie is a fast learner.
Keep an eye out on this battle come training camp.