5 Storylines to Watch When 49ers Begin OTAs

The San Francisco 49ers transition from Phase 2 of their offseason program to Organized Team Activities on Tuesday.

Apart from a three-day veteran minicamp the week of the draft, the offense and defense have had to work separately during practice. That meant no 1-on-1 or 7-on-7 drills were allowed.

Tuesday's practice will be open to the media and will provide the first extended glimpse at the 2016 49ers roster. Here are five storylines to keep track of over the next three weeks.1. Who emerges at cornerback?

No roster spot will be decided until players put pads on during training camp in August. But that doesn't mean there aren't plays to be made in OTAs.

There are currently nine corners on the roster after San Francisco added three via the draft. That number jumps to double digits if you include Jimmie Ward, whom the 49ers list as a defensive back on the official roster.

Tramaine Brock and Kenneth Acker are the incumbent starters from last year. Dontae Johnson, Marcus Cromartie, Keith Reaser and Chris Davis also saw varying amounts of playing time in 2015. Ward served as the team's primary nickel corner. Will Redmond, Rashard Robinson and Prince Charles Iworah are the rookies on the roster.

"You can never have enough skill at that position," general manager Trent Baalke said following the draft. "You can never have enough competition at that position."2. How will the offensive line shake out?

Outside of Joe Staley at left tackle, no other starting job is set in stone.

Where will Zane Beadles play? The 49ers free-agent acquisition has spent his career at left guard, but so has first-round pick Joshua Garnett.

Trent Brown showed well as a rookie in his two starts at right tackle, but veteran Erik Pears and draft picks John Theus and Fahn Cooper will challenge him for the starting spot. Daniel Kilgore and Marcus Martin are two of the top candidates to start at center.

Andrew Tiller played well at right guard in 2015. Canadian Football League acquisition Colin Kelly, Blake Muir, Norman Price, Ian Silberman, Brandon Thomas and defensive lineman-turned-offensive lineman Alex Balducci are the other names who will try to help their cause in OTAs.3. Who will start next to NaVorro Bowman?

Michael Wilhoite won the job out of training camp and was the opening-day starter in 2015. Gerald Hodges was acquired midseason and played well when Wilhoite went down with an injury.

Those two are joined by Ray-Ray Armstrong, Shayne Skov and Nick Bellore as the rest of the inside linebackers group on the roster.4. Which wide receiver stands out?

There is playing time to be earned as a 49ers pass-catcher. Anquan Boldin is a free agent, which means there is a spot in the starting lineup that will need to be filled across from Torrey Smith.

The introduction of 1-on-1 drills into the offseason program makes wide receivers and defensive backs two of the most enjoyable position groups to watch. CFL standout Eric Rogers looks the part at 6-foot-3, but how will he fare against NFL corners? Will Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington, both of whom have shown great potential, continue to develop and make plays? How will 2015 fourth-round pick DeAndre Smelter look in his first offseason program as a healthy member of the team?

These are the questions that OTAs will begin to answer.

Dres Anderson, Aaron Burbridge, Devon Cajuste, DiAndre Campbell, Jerome Simpson, Bryce Treggs and DeAndrew White will also hope to prove they're capable of being playmakers in the NFL. 5. What will a Chip Kelly practice look like?

Since Coach Kelly was hired in January, everyone has been anxious to see his offense in action. Again, Tuesday will be a far cry from game action, but it still serves as a sample of what the 49ers will look like in 2016.

Just how fast is the offense? How will that affect the defense? Will the up-tempo style be evident in each period of practice?

Of course, there will be no clarity as to who will be leading Kelly's offense come September. That won't happen until Colin Kaepernick gets back to full strength and joins Blaine Gabbert, Thad Lewis and Jeff Driskel on the practice field.

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