The San Francisco 49ers head into the 2015 season with plenty of questions after a whirlwind offseason that was full of surprise retirements and changes to both the coaching staff and the depth chart. Despite the tremendous amount of turnover, new head coach Jim Tomsula still has plenty of talent to work with, and could even have a few under-the-radar players who could step up and claim starting spots over the next two months. Here are 3 players who could surprise during 49ers' training camp:
WR Quinton Patton
Veteran receivers Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith are locked in atop the depth chart, but there should be a battle for the #3 spot with the likes of Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington and Jerome Simpson. Patton has been relatively quiet in his first two NFL seasons, but the former LA Tech receiver has shown noticeable growth this offseason. The 49ers should want Patton to win the job, as he has more promise than veteran journeyman Simpson, and Ellington may be best suited as a gadget-type player rather than a prototypical receiver. If Patton carries his strong OTAs showing into camp and the preseason, he should run away with the job heading into Week 1.
CB Keith Reaser
A former 5th-round pick out of Florida Atlantic, Keith Reaser spent the 2014 season in a 'redshirt' year after rehabbing from two ACL surgeries. The 23-year-old is healthy and ready to contribute this season though, and with a fluid depth chart in front of him, a strong camp could vault him into significant playing time. At 6'0", 190 lbs, Reaser is one of the bigger corners in 49ers' camp and should have the size to compete with physical receivers if given the chance to start or spell guys like Shareece Wright and Jimmie Ward. Even simply winning a spot as the third corner could position Reaser to receive enough playing time to potentially wrestle the starting job away from Wright, even if it doesn't happen Week 1.
OT Trent Brown
As a seventh round pick in May's draft, offensive tackle Trent Brown may have the smallest odds of winning a starting job among the three players on this list, but his emergence could be the most important for the 49ers. After the retirement of Anthony Davis left a hole on the line, Brown impressed coaches with his play during OTAs, although free agent signee Erik Pears and guard Alex Boone have each received reps to help fill the right tackle spot. Still, Brown's massive size (6'8", 355 lbs) makes him a bulldozer as long as he can stay in shape and adjust to blocking in the NFL. If it happens, the 49ers will end up with a huge steal at the bottom of the draft.Back to the San Francisco 49ers Newsfeed