San Francisco 49ers: Predicting 5 Surprise Starters in 2014

San Francisco 49ers: Predicting 5 Surprise Starters in 2014

Darryl Morris San Francisco 49ers
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers are extremely deep and probably have the best roster from top to bottom. They’re a team with very little turnovers, so when you see a new starter in a spot that wasn’t vacated via free agency, it can be a little surprising. Here are five players that could surprise people by winning a starting spot in 2014.

5. Marcus Martin

Marcus Martin San Francisco 49ers
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5. Marcus Martin

Marcus Martin San Francisco 49ers
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Marcus Martin was a steal in the 2014 NFL draft. He was arguably the best interior lineman in the draft and dropped to the third round. However, he currently sits behind veteran Daniel Kilgore on the depth chart. Kilgore was just recently signed to an extension by the 49ers; a sign that the team has a lot of faith in Kilgore. Martin is more than capable of winning the starting spot at some point but he’ll have to work extremely hard to get it.

4. Chris Borland

Chris Borland San Francisco 49ers
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4. Chris Borland

Chris Borland San Francisco 49ers
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One of the inside linebacker positions is up for grabs for the 49ers due to the late season injury to NaVorro Bowman. The front runner is Michael Wilhoite, who filled in at the position last season. But people have been doubting Chris Borland his whole life and he’s used to it now. It will just fuel his fire in his quest to take the starting spot while Bowman is out. He’s a tackling machine and could surprise a lot of people by winning the spot.

3. Corey Lemonier

Corey Lemonier San Francisco 49ers
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3. Corey Lemonier

Corey Lemonier San Francisco 49ers
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Outside linebacker Aldon Smith will most likely face some kind of suspension from either the 49ers or the NFL. When he does, Corey Lemonier will fill in and the drop off between Smith and Lemonier won’t be as steep as a lot of people think. Lemonier could also earn Ahmad Brooks’ spot on the other side when Smith returns. With the plethora of pass rushers the 49ers have and the high cap number of Brooks, there’s a chance the 49ers trade him.

2. Darryl Morris

Darryl Morris San Francisco 49ers
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2. Darryl Morris

Darryl Morris San Francisco 49ers
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The slot cornerback position for the 49ers is completely up for grabs this offseason. Special teams ace Darryl Morris has been impressing all the coaches during minicamp and is looking to steal the starting slot cornerback spot from rookie Jimmie Ward. Morris has a year’s experience in the system and Ward will be out until training camp in late July. Morris could very well get the starts in the beginning of the season until Ward gets up to speed.

1. Tank Carradine

Tank Carradine San Francisco 49ers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1. Tank Carradine

Tank Carradine San Francisco 49ers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t see Tank Carradine starting for the 49ers right away, but he could very well earn a starting spot by the end of the season. Starting defensive ends Justin Smith and Ray McDonald are both getting up there in age and might be slowing down some. With Carradine looking as explosive as he does so far this offseason, people could see a changing of the guard midway through the 2014 campaign.

Brian Cox is a San Francisco 49ers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bacox87, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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