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Four Downs: 49ers Players to Watch vs. the Kansas City Chiefs

San Francisco and Kansas City have faced off in 12 regular season games since 1971, plus a few preseason contests.

Our staff writers break down the San Francisco 49ers first preseason matchup, a road game against the Kansas City Chiefs

Let's dive into the keys to the game in this "Four Downs" preview of the 49ers exhibition contest, presented by SunPower.

1st Down:Which veteran are you most excited to watch?@Joe_Fann: Pierre Garçon

It's a quarterback driven league, and it's been a few years since the 49ers had stability at the position. Hoyer has been marvelous throughout training camp, and he has really taken the reins of Kyle Shanahan's offense. Friday will be his first chance to operate the offense in San Francisco. All eyes will be watching to see if the explosive plays in practice carry into a game situation. We will likely only see Hoyer and the first-team offense for a quarter, but a touchdown drive would be a very encouraging start to the preseason.

@KeianaMartinTV: Marquise Goodwin

Goodwin earned the right of being named one of the biggest standouts at camp. His speed has been no match for defenders, and he has managed to find the end zone nearly every practice. He scares defenses with his speed, and looks to be a well-rounded threat in Shanahan's offense. I'm eager to watch Goodwin opposite a fresh defense, specifically 2015 defensive rookie of the year, Marcus Peters. Also, it will be exciting to watch the NFL's two speediest players on the same field in Goodwin and Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill.2nd Down: Which rookie are you most excited to watch?

@Joe_Fann: C.J. Beathard

Have I mentioned yet that it's a quarterback driven league? The 49ers took a lot of heat for trading up to get Beathard in the third round. Most draft analysts weren't nealy as high on the Iowa product. And yet, Beathard has shown consistent growth during camp and is in a legit competition with Matt Barkley to be the team's No. 2 quarterback. Barkley will be the second quarterback to play on Friday, but Beathard will get ample opportunity as well. I'm eager to see how the rookie fares in his first game action. Maybe, just maybe, Shanahan knows what he's looking for in a quarterback.

@KeianaMartinTV: Lorenzo Jerome

The easy (and valid) answers would be Solomon Thomas or Reuben Foster, however Jerome has continued to prove he deserves a spot on the 49ers roster. The undrafted free agent is an instinctual defensive back who appears anxious to finally lay some meaningful hits. Jerome has had a strong training camp so far, and has received first-team reps at free safety while Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt were sidelined due to injury. It will be exciting to watch the feisty rookie against the Chiefs.
3rd Down: Who will score the 49ers first touchdown?

@Joe_Fann: Marquise Goodwin

You know Shanahan is going to dial up a deep ball to Goodwin at some point. We've seen Hoyer connect with Goodwin downfield on a near daily basis during practice. It's never too early for a bold prediction, and so I'm calling a 50-yard touchdown off of play action on Friday night.

@KeianaMartinTV: Pierre Garçon

I'm taking Hyde this one. With six running backs listed, it's not likely Hyde will receive a considerable amount of carries in Friday's preseason contest. However, I'm going with a bold prediction here: In the first drive of the game, Hoyer will lead the offense downfield, and Hyde will rush for a 5-yard touchdown. He's got a lot to prove this season with array of suitors nipping at his heels, and I foresee him setting the tone preseason Week 1. 

4th Down: Which defender will force a turnover?

@Joe_Fann: Lorenzo Jerome

Without Ward in the lineup, Vinnie Sunseri and Jerome will be the team's primary free safeties. Jerome set a school record at St. Francis (Pa.) with 18 career interceptions and has shown that nose for the football thus far with the 49ers. He's already got a pair of takeaways in camp. An interception of Chiefs prized rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes would be a nice early feather in Jerome's cap.

@KeianaMartinTV:Aaron Lynch

Entering into his fourth season with the 49ers, Lynch spent the offseason auditioning at LEO. Through the first few days of training camp, Lynch has already recorded several sacks, an interception and a few batted passes. I expect more of the same on Friday. The slimmed down linebacker has shown improved speed off the line of scrimmage, not to mention he adds to a towering defensive line alongside Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. If preseason Week 1 is anything like what we've seen thus far at training camp, I'm banking on an interception off of a tipped pass.

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