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49ers Positional Battles: How Rookies Are Impacting the Depth Charts

With the new slate officially wiped with the arrival of the Jim Harbaugh regime to the San Francisco 49ers, fans and players alike are looking forward to the hope and promise that comes along with the new head coach. The team is focused on the upcoming season, meaning that many a positional battle on both sides of the ball are taking place in training camp everyday. Let's take a look at a few and how some of the rookies the impacting the depth chart.

Wide Reciever

With Mike Crabtree and Dominique Ziegler on the PUP list with injuries it opens up opportunities for rookies like Ronald Johnson to step up and make some plays in camp and in preseason games. Newcomer Braylon Edwards immediately became the top wideout target (and largest) on the squad, but Ted Ginn and Josh Morgan are having themselves good camps and will make an impact as well. Johnson will have his hands full trying to climb up the ladder, but also has some great hands to mentor him along the way. Should be a great competition between all these guys. 

Linebacker

The Niners lost Takeo Spikes to the Chargers, but picked up Antwan Applewhite from San Diego as well. The team still has one of the best LB's in the NFL in Patrick Willis, so there's not much competition there, but all eyes have been fixated on first round draft pick Aldon Smith who has been turning heads and impressing veterans left and right in camp thus far. If Smith keeps it up he could find himself as a starter come week one of the regular season, but he's going to have to put in the work to get there. 

Running Back

All-Pro RB Frank Gore is coming off a broken hip, and one of his least productive seasons of his career, but is still one of the cornerstones of the offense. Rookie Kendall Hunter could see some snaps in certain situations, but Anthony Dixon will likely see the greatest uptick of touches in his second year with the team. Jeremiah Masoli was picked up to be a RB, but his history at QB leaves him in a bit of positional limbo at the moment as the team mulls over where he will make the biggest impact.

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