With the start of training camp just over a week away, now is the perfect time to look at each of the position groups on the San Francisco 49ers roster and predict who will make the 53-man roster.
On the roster: Azeez Al-Shaair, Oren Burks, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Jeremiah Gemmel, Dre Greenlaw, Marcelino McCrary-Ball, Segun Olubi, Curtis Robinson, Fred Warner
Analysis: Led by All-Pro Fred Warner, who finished 2021 with a career-high 137 tackles, San Francisco’s linebacker crew is among the best in the game.
With Dre Greenlaw out due to a groin injury, Azeez Al-Shaair stepped into the starting lineup and had a phenomenal season. Starting 13 games, Al-Shaair racked up 102 tackles, including nine for loss, with two sacks, five pass breakups, one interception, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. He’ll start in the base defense and compete with Dre Greenlaw for snaps alongside Warner when the 49ers go into their nickel set.
San Francisco added Oren Burks during free agency. Burks’s primary role with the 49ers will be on special teams, but he will also provide solid depth. A third-round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2018, Burks started three games in 2021 and finished with a career-high 36 tackles.
Question mark: Three of the 49ers top four linebackers have health concerns entering training camp, which will be worth monitoring.
Dre Greenlaw was sidelined for 15 games through the first 17 weeks of the 2021 season after suffering a groin injury in week one, which required surgery. Greenlaw was able to start the regular season finale in Los Angeles and all three games during the 49ers playoff run.
Greenlaw’s replacement in 2021, Azeez Al-Shaair, is dealing with his own health issues after knee and shoulder surgery over the offseason. Al-Shaair played through the injuries last year and was held out of OTA practices and minicamp.
Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles also missed OTAs and minicamp. The backup linebacker was held out of practice while trying to manage knee tendinitis. Flannigan-Fowles suffered the knee injury during the first half of the NFC Championship Game and missed the remainder of the game.
53-man Roster Projection: (5) Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, Azeez Al-Shaair, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Oren Burks