The 49ers are officially open for business.
Rookies, including all 12 draft picks, are scheduled to report to the 49ers’ headquarters in Santa Clara on Wednesday -- one week ahead of the remainder of the team -- for the opening of training camp.
Safety Jimmie Ward is expected to be on the field this week for the first time since the 49ers selected him with the No. 30 overall pick. Ward has some catching up to do, as he gets back on the field after rehabbing from surgery to repair a fractured foot.
Ideally, the 49ers want the speedster from Northern Illinois to earn the role as the nickel back and No. 3 safety. Second-year player Darryl Morris had a strong offseason program and could be stiff competition for the role as the all-important third corner.
Second-round pick Carlos Hyde will have the opportunity to win some playing time behind starting running back Frank Gore. Hyde could become the team’s short-yardage back. How much playing time he earns will hinge on his ability in blitz pickup.
Two third-round selections will be battling for starting roles to open the season. Center Marcus Martin will compete with Daniel Kilgore for the job to replace veteran Jonathan Goodwin, whom the 49ers showed no interest in re-signing as a free agent.
And inside linebacker Chris Borland will compete against Michael Wilhoite for the role as the starting “jack” linebacker spot while NaVorro Bowman continues his rehabilitation from the severe knee injury he sustained in the NFC Championship game. Patrick Willis moves from the “jack” position to his preferred “mike” spot with Bowman out.
Wide receiver Bruce Ellington and cornerback Dontae Johnson, both fourth-round selections, had strong offseasons and will compete for roles. Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch will return from a hamstring strain that limited him during the offseason program to compete for a pass-rushing role. The 49ers could find themselves looking to fill in for Aldon Smith, pending the NFL's decision on potential discipline.
The team’s quarterbacks, including Colin Kaepernick, and rehabbing veteran players are scheduled to report on Friday.
The entire team is scheduled to report next Wednesday (July 23). No on-field work is allowed on the first day of camp. And no contact is permissible in the first two days of practices. The 49ers’ first full-squad, padded practice is scheduled for July 26.