By Tyler McMullen @Direct_Snap on June 4, 2014
The San Francisco 49ers, coming fresh off a spectacular draft, are looking to overtake the division rival Seattle Seahawks as NFC West Champs again this season. San Francisco is loaded with talent across the depth chart, thus creating positional battles at just about every position.
Here are five starters who will struggle this season.
Aldon Smith is entering the 2014 with a potential suspension looming due to countless off-field incidents, including a recent instance in which he pleaded "no contest" to. If Smith can keep his head on straight, he is one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL. But with a cloudy contract situation with the team and a plethora of young pass rushers behind him, he may struggle this season.
Glenn Dorsey had a decent season one year ago playing in all 16 games for the 49ers at nose tackle. Dorsey will turn 29 before the season begins and has not really lived up to his potential thus far throughout his career. With young players itching for some action behind him, Dorsey has a very short leash right now.
Justin Smith has been quite a good 3-4 defensive end for the 49ers ever since joining the team in 2008. He has only missed two total games during his tenure with the team and has been one of the more consistent players during that time. Being in his 14th NFL season and having a young stud name Lawrence Okoye behind him, however, look for Smith's snap count to decrease this season. Remember the name Lawrence Okoye, 49ers fans.
Michael Crabtree has yet to live up to his full potential after being a high draft pick of the 49ers out of Texas Tech. I may be one of the biggest Crabtree fans out there, and I will tell you that this kid has something special, but the 49ers have loaded up on receivers and have Bruce Ellington and Jon Baldwin both waiting in the wings, Crabtree cannot afford to be bitten by the injury bug yet again this season.
Surprise! Vernon Davis is in the last year of his contract and has been looking to receive an extension from the team. San Francisco needs to lock up their franchise QB before they touch anyone else's contract, however. With a talented young tight end in Vance McDonald behind Davis and a plethora of talent at the receiver position this season, the former Maryland standout may see his targets decrease.
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