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Takeaways from Day 4 of 49ers training camp

The 49ers on Saturday wrapped up their first block of four training camp practices. No pads are allowed for the first part of the camp, so the takeaways are always hit and miss. Once the pads come on Monday we’ll get a much better sense of where the roster stands ahead of the club’s first preseason contest Aug. 12 vs. the Packers.

Here are the top takeaways from the fourth camp session:

Charvarius Ward keeps shining

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The 49ers’ biggest offseason addition is having a huge training camp. Ward was brought in to be a No. 1 cornerback, and he’s playing like one with splash plays in each day so far, including an interception Saturday. San Francisco had depth problems at corner last year and struggled to find consistently good play there. If Ward continues playing like he has in camp with Emmanuel Moseley holding down the opposite side, the 49ers could put together the best secondary they’ve had under head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Tarvarius Moore enters the fray

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Second-year safety Talanoa Hufanga is the frontrunner for the starting strong safety job, but Moore made his mark Saturday with a pair of interceptions. That battle could become very interesting if Moore keeps playing well in a return from a torn Achilles last season. He’s a converted free safety who can do some things athletically that Hufanga can’t, which gives the 49ers some added flexibility in the back end. Hufanga has drawn praise from the coaching staff and it sounds like the job is his to lose, but don’t be surprised if Moore becomes a factor.

Dontae Johnson starts

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Johnson rolled with the first team defense as the nickel corner Saturday. His presence on the roster feels like an inevitability. He can play outside, in the slot, safety and special teams. It’s unlikely Johnson puts himself in a spot to be the starting nickel corner, but the fact he’s running with the first team early in camp is a testament to how highly the coaching staff thinks of him. Don’t rule him out for a roster spot, especially if Jason Verrett stays on the PUP list into the regular season.

DT injury woes

(AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

The 49ers have a bit of a problem on the interior of their defensive line. A position that was once one of the deeper parts of the roster is now missing a slew of pieces. Arik Armstead is out for a few weeks with an MCL sprain. Maurice Hurst tore his biceps Friday and will need surgery that’s likely to end his season. Hassan Ridgeway was also out of action Saturday because of a mild quad strain that could keep him out for a couple of weeks. The once deep DL is now seeing that depth tested. Robert Nkemdiche, Kevin Givens, undrafted rookie Kevin Atkins and newly-signed Tomasi Laulile are other DTs on the roster. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the 49ers added another player to that mix while Ridgeway and Armstead work their way back.

2 1st-rounders return to trenches

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Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and right tackle Mike McGlinchey, who both had season-ending surgery last year, returned to team drills Saturday. Both players were going through partial sessions prior to Day 4 of the camp.

Kinlaw had surgery to reconstruct his ACL last season, while McGlinchey dealt with a torn quad. The 49ers badly need Kinlaw to play a full season and take a step forward from his rookie season in 2020. His presence inside is going to be a significant piece of how they replace defensive tackle DJ Jones. McGlinchey is in the fifth and final year of his rookie contract and with some question marks on the interior, the 49ers need him to have his best year as a pro. If he can be a great run blocker while holding his own in pass protection it would be a sizable boost for an otherwise inexperienced offensive front.

A Jimmy G sighting

Oooooo. Aaaaaaa.



Story originally appeared on Niners Wire