The San Francisco 49ers kick off the pre-season against the Dallas Cowboys and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan as already stated that the 1st team offense will play at least one series in this game. The 49ers have a ton of talent outside of the starters and there will be several players I will be paying close attention to in this opening game.
Julian Taylor: The rookie DT from Temple was selected in 7th round and has been having a good camp and will be looking to build on this in the pre-season. Taylor is a good mix of size and speed but the question is will it translate to NFL. Taylor has the potential to make the 53 man roster if he can show that he will affect the pass rush in a positive way.
D.J. Reed Jr.: Though the secondary at the moment is pretty crowded Reed has stood out. Playing a number of positions is what is going to make him a player to watch during the pre-season. Even with the addition of Richard Sherman, Akelo Witherspoon seeming to be the lock opposite side of Sherman and Jimmy Ward most likely playing both corner and safety depending on the package, the 49ers still need to add depth to the secondary and Reed possess the skills to be a contributor this season.
Fred Warner: The 49ers will be without LB Reuben Foster for the first two weeks of the season due to suspension, so they will be looking to see who will fill that role and Warner could be that guy. Warner’s coverage skills gives him and edge over the other LB’s that will be fighting to become the starter for the first to weeks. He as great sideline to sideline speed and plays he run pretty well and the 49ers drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2018 draft because they see him as being a starter in the future and this could be the start of that.
Mike McGlinchey: All eyes will be on the 1st round pick that was brought in to protect the franchise quarterback. At Notre Dame McGlinchey was a violent blocker and always finished the play and the 49ers will be hoping that he brings that same thing to the NFL. McGlinchey is the type of offensive lineman that Kyle Shanahan loves, a big guy with good movement who can get up field when needed. Standing at 6’8 most will send there fastest defensive linemen at McGlinchey and how he handles that it what people will be looking out for.
Dante Pettis: It seems like not a day of camp went by without Pettis’s name being brought up, he has had a great camp so far and already seems to have a good connection with Jimmy Garoppolo. A lot of people, including myself already have Pettis penciled in as the fourth wide receiver and to the fact that he was the best return man in the draft the 49ers will be looking to get the ball into his hands as much as possible.
Joe Williams: This is the one player I am probably most excited to see, the running back was hand picked by coach Shanahan last year and showed some flashes last year during pre-season. He was placed on IR and did not see the field at all last year during the regular season. In the pre-season games that he did play last season he showed a good mixture of speed and power and coach Shanahan has even said that Williams looks even better than he did last year. If Williams can stay healthy and put together another good pre-season he could find himself as the 3rd running back and for those who know coach Shanahan’s system knows that he likes to use more then just one running back so Williams could see some significant play time this season.