The 49ers made 10 draft selections, but certainly not each of their picks will win a role of the 53-man roster.
But the additions signal that there could be consequences for some of the players who are holdovers from last year’s roster.
Based on the positions and rounds at which the 49ers selected, here are five veterans who figure to face the most competition from the newcomers:
P Andy Lee
Lee, a three-time Pro Bowl punter, might actually be the underdog after the 49ers selected Clemson’s Bradley Pinion in the fifth round. Teams do not select punters in the fifth round unless they believe he will end up winning the job. Pinion will be punting for some team in the NFL next season. The only question is whether it’ll be with the 49ers or a team that claims him after the final cuts. Pinion is young and he’s a lot less expensive than Lee, who is scheduled to earn $2.05 million this season. Lee must prove that he is far-and-away the better option or the 49ers can be expected to go with their draft pick.
TE Vance McDonald
In 23 games since the 49ers selected him in the second round of the 2013 draft, McDonald has 10 receptions for 149 yards. McDonald received good marks from Pro Football Focus for his blocking last season, especially in the run game. The 49ers signed Derek Carrier to a two-year extension this offseason. And on Saturday, they added two draft picks. Blake Bell was chosen in the fourth round, and Busta Anderson was the best player on their board when they selected him with their final selection. The meaning is clear: McDonald will have to earn his spot this season as Vernon Davis’ top backup.
S Craig Dahl
Dahl accepted a pay reduction in the offseason to remain on the team. He has been the first safety off the sideline in his first two years while also serving as a core special-teams contributor. The 49ers selected safety Jimmie Ward in the first round of ’14. On Friday, the team invested its second-round pick on strong safety Jaquiski Tartt of Samford. The 49ers can keep an extra safety because those players must also play special teams. But Dahl’s path toward making the team again is for his value as the No. 3 safety. The addition of Tartt should increase the competition among the safeties.
OLB Ahmad Brooks
OLB Corey Lemonier
Outside linebacker Eli Harold of Virginia is a player who had some first-round buzz surrounding him last week. But when he toppled to the third round, the 49ers swooped in and ended his fall. Brooks is coming off a bad season on and off the field, which included two late-season benchings. With salary and bonuses, Brooks is scheduled to make $4.8 million this season. Brooks’ future with the 49ers hinges a little with Harold, but mostly with the competition he’ll face against Aaron Lynch. Lemonier was a third-round draft pick two years ago. He has played sparingly on defense in two seasons, recording just one sack in 32 games while playing a lot of special teams. Harold will definitely compete to surpass Lemonier on the depth chart.