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4 Things to Watch During 49ers OTAs

View the top images from Thursday's workout as the 49ers wrapped up Phase 2 of the offseason program.

The San Francisco 49ers began OTAs on Monday, a portion of the offseason program that will span the next three weeks. One practice each week will be open to the media. The offseason work will then conclude on June 14 following the team's lone three-day minicamp.

Here are a few things you should keep an eye on over the next month.

1. Jimmy G.

Tuesday's open practice will be the first time media has gotten to watch Jimmy Garoppolo for an entire practice. The intensity of the session should be similar to what things will look like during the first week of training camp. There won't be pads involved, but there's likely to be 1-on-1s, 7-on-7s and full-team periods.

It will be intriguing to see how Garoppolo carries himself as the leader of the 49ers offense in a practice setting. There aren't major questions to be answered in this respect, but it will still be fun to watch Garoppolo let it rip regardless.

2. "En Garde"

There aren't an overwhelming number of position battles at this point compared to last season. The roster is much more solidified with a pretty clear picture of who will be starting in 2018. Both guard spots are an exception, however, with a few names in the running to start. Laken Tomlinson, Jonathan Cooper and Joshua Garnett will be the key figures in that competition.

Tomlinson started 15 games for the 49ers at left guard in 2017. Cooper, who was acquired via free agency this offseason, started 13 games for the Dallas Cowboys last year. Garnett missed all of last season with a knee injury after starting 11 games as a rookie in 2016. He's one of the true wildcards on this year's roster.

View the top images from Tuesday's workout as the 49ers continue Phase 2 of the offseason program.

3. Man in the Middle

Malcom Smith as almost assuredly going to be seen with the first-team defense at WILL linebacker. Smith is back to full strength after missing 2017 with a pectoral tear. But who will be at MIKE? Reuben Foster is still away from the team while he deals with his legal matters, and Brock Coyle is yet to be cleared after having offseason shoulder surgery.

Elijah Lee, Korey Toomer and Mark Nzeocha are the likely candidates to fill that role for the time being. Rookie Fred Warner may also get reps at MIKE with the first unit.

4. Where's Dante?

National analysts have been quick to pencil in Dante Pettis at slot receiver ahead of Trent Taylor. I don't think it's that simple. Sure, Pettis played some slot at Washington, but he also spent plenty of time split wide as well. He's 6-foot-1 and has speed to take the top off the defense. My best guess is that the 49ers move him around quite a bit – at least at first. Given that San Francisco traded up to select the former Husky in the second round, it would be promising to see Pettis flash sooner rather than later.

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