OTAs begin May 24th for the 49ers. These are the five most fascinating matchups to watch.
DT Javon Kinlaw vs. OG Aaron Banks
Kinlaw fought last season during training camp to beat rookie guard Colton McKivitz in a one-on-one. Kinlaw made McKivitz look great, but McKivitz isn’t great and he played poorly during the season. Kinlaw had its positive moments but didn’t produce much – only 1.5 bags. Now the 49ers are expecting Kinlaw to take a giant leap in the second year of his career. And he has to improve because this off-season he has to deal with Aaron Banks from the second round, who is way better than McKivitz. Big test for Kinlaw.
OT Mike McGlinchey versus DE Samson Ebukam
McGlinchey got into an underweight training camp last year and got pushed around by everyone all season. He should be in better shape this season as the 49ers will have a full off-season training program. And if he’s in shape, he should perform well on one-on-one pass rushes against Ebukam who is not a refined pass rusher. But he’s strong and fast, so give McGlinchey all he can.
WR Brandon Aiyuk versus CB Ambry Thomas
Thomas was the top cornerback the 49ers designed this year – they hope he can develop into a No. 1 corner in the NFL. If he can cover Brandon Aiyuk who looks like a future No. 1 recipient, then the future will be bright for Thomas.
TE Ross Dwelley vs. SS Talanoa Hufanga
Hufanga isn’t the fastest security so he might struggle to cover some of the more athletic bottlenecks like George Kittle. But Ross Dwelley is even slower Hufanga. So it will be interesting to see if Hufanga can be with Dwelley, who is surprisingly difficult to cover one on one.
MLB Fred Warner versus RB Trey Sermon
Sermon ran a route that resulted in uncovered free agent linebacker Justin Hilliard falling during the rookie mini-camp. If Sermon can beat Warner, arguably the best linebacker in the NFL, then Sermon will be quite a weapon in the passing game.