We've already touched on two of the 49ers' second-year players already—Eric Reid and Darryl Morris—on the previous slide, as well as Corey Lemonier the slide prior. Lawrence Okoye may even be working his way into the 53-man equation.
But what of the remaining cast of San Francisco's impact 2013 draft picks?
Let's focus on two specific players who could have major influence upon the 49ers' chances this season: defensive end Tank Carradine and running back Marcus Lattimore.
Both players were redshirted a year ago—each recovering from collegiate injuries that thwarted their respective draft stocks to a level where San Francisco was comfortable drafting them.
Carradine may be the "player to watch" on defense this year.
While we should expect incumbent ends Justin Smith and Ray McDonald to see the majority of snaps at the start (and perhaps through the majority) of the 2014 season, Carradine's debut will be highly anticipated.
Carradine's pass-rushing prowess cannot be overlooked. He posted 16.5 sacks in a two-year span at Florida State, along with 21 tackles for a loss.
Now he serves as the direct understudy of—and possibly the eventual replacement for—Smith, a player he greatly admires.
Carradine will essentially do two things for San Francisco's defensive front. First, he will offer needed relief for both Smith and McDonald, keeping both players fresh for the duration of the 16-week season and hopefully into the playoffs.
More importantly, Carradine will provide a different look on defense and force opposing teams to make even more adjustments to the 49ers' pass rush.
If Carradine can be a beast on defense, which many, like 49ers.com writer Taylor Price and Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows, think he will be, the 49ers won't have to worry too much about the age issue surrounding Smith as we discussed previously.
Perhaps this unit even improves upon the achievements garnered last season.
Jumping over to the other side of the ball, we can also take a close look at second-year running back Lattimore.
In a vacuum, we would have viewed Lattimore as the likeliest of candidates to take over the duties once the 49ers move on from the Frank Gore era.
Things never occur in a vacuum, however.
We know how crowded San Francisco's backfield is entering training camp. Behind Gore, the 49ers are looking at Lattimore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James and 2014 draft pick Carlos Hyde.
Hyde figures to be the biggest competition for Lattimore in securing the eventual featured-back role for the 49ers in the long run.
While we should continue to expect Gore to start the season as the No. 1 back, the biggest question will be who spells him directly over the course of the 2014 season.
According to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area, there are plenty of aspects factoring into the equation. He writes:
It all depends on how well [Hyde] does in pass protection. The 49ers have not seen Hyde or Lattimore in pads. If they are slow to pick up the nuances of the 49ers’ blitz pickup packages—or are not physically able to carry out their assignments—then, there’s no way either is going to get onto the field for significant playing time this season. Hunter, the 49ers’ backup running back in each of his three seasons with the club, is very underrated in all aspects. But the 49ers rate him highly. And that's all that matters. Until Hyde or Lattimore prove themselves, the 49ers’ coaching staff is going to stick with Hunter because they know he can be trusted.
From Maiocco's standpoint, Lattimore essentially has three things to overcome: the injury, competition with Hyde and his ability to develop in pass protection.
More of this will be determined when the 49ers don pads in full-contact drills during training camp.
Lattimore's role seems much less certain than Carradine's. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Carradine should be the primary backup behind Smith and McDonald. Lattimore's projections could be as high as the No. 2 back or, in a worst-case scenario, as low as not making the 53-man roster altogether.
Training camp will provide further information as to what the future holds for both of these players, and all the 49ers' second-year veterans in general.