By Niner Faithful
Training camp is almost here the team reports Thursday with the first practice taking place Friday. There has been so much roster turnover this year (52 new players) everyone will be exciting to watch. Here are just a few that I wanted to highlight in this week’s blog.
George Kittle: The rookie tight end (5th round 146 overall) impressed both head coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch during this year’s offseason program. He has great hands only dropping one ball on his 48 receptions during his 4 years at Iowa. He has the size (6’4 247 lbs.) to be a red zone threat one on one something the team has been lacking. Where he’s value is going to be though is he blocking. Iowa is a running team and George Kittle was their best blocker and loves doing that being quoted saying “he takes pride in it” and “moving a man point a to point b ageist his will is the greatest feeling you’ll ever feel”. During the teams off season he got the loins share of reps with the ones showing that the coaching staff thinks highly of him. Now it’s time for him to do it with the pads on and I can’t wait to see it.
Trent Taylor: Trent Taylor was Kyle Shanahan’s draft crush. The 5’8 wide receiver may not be the biggest player, but has the separation skills and play making ability in space to play in the slot he can catch the football and was moved all over the field during OTA’s. He’s a smart receiver and has the ability to read defenses fast. He has shown that he can produce at least in college (136 receptions 1,803 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns in 2016) and did a little bit of return duty as well (482 yards on 58 returns). He probably won’t start over Jeremy Kerley this year but has too much upside to risk losing him to try and put him on the practice squad and his punt returner potential make him someone I’m dying to see during camp and the preseason.
Arik Armstead: In camp last year he was pointed out by Joe Staley as someone who could have a brake out year. His shoulder injury ultimately put him on the IR and we never really got to see if that was true. This year he’s slimed down to better fit the “Leo” position he’ll be playing in our new defensive scheme. He will no longer have being a first round pick status to keep him on the roster with their being a new GM and Coaching staff he will have to go out and earn it. He isn’t the Idea size for a “Leo” but his athleticism and unique size make his an intriguing player to watch in training camp this year I can’t wait.
NaVorro Bowman: The Mon5t3r is the heat and soul the defense. We all know the story of his injures in 14’ and then last year and what his absence did to the defense. There are questions about whether or not he can comeback from another devastating injury and return to his former Pro Bowl self or even a NFL starter. The Niners themselves have to have some concern about his ability to come back going out and signing Malcolm Smith and drafting Reuben Foster. From all accounts he’s healing just fine and will be full go for training camp and the Pre-Season but that was before pads went on so well see how it holds up. I have faith that the Mon5t3r will be back to his old self sooner than latter especially with Foster and Smith pushing him for his spot. They say pressure makes diamonds and I can’t wait to see him shine in training camp this year.