SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers are one week into their 2017 NFL training camp. With that in mind, let's take a spin through the roster and offer some other thoughts, observations and notes on what we've seen so far:
WR Marquise Goodwin: No 49er has stood out more than Goodwin through the first week. Part of that is because his big plays are generally the flashiest (long touchdown passes always raise eyebrows), but Goodwin has done more than just run by defenders for deep balls. He has shown a better-than-expected ability to run intermediate routes and that has added a needed element of versatility to his game. It's worth noting that Niners cornerbacks haven't offered much resistance, but Goodwin's emergence has been a bright spot regardless.
QB Brian Hoyer: There is no quarterback competition this year. This is Hoyer's offense and Hoyer's team, and he seems to be completely comfortable and in control. His ability to throw the long ball has surprised even some of his teammates, and he brings a steady, calming influence to the huddle. That isn't to say Hoyer is about to dominate, but he has been on his game in the early part of camp.
The defensive line: Choosing just one member from this group would be unfair to the rest of a group that has at least looked the part of a potential team strength heading into 2017. Ends Arik Armstead and Elvis Dumervil and defensive tackles DeForest Buckner and Earl Mitchell have been particularly sharp among the players working with the first-team defense, but there's a lot of depth here, too. Rookies Solomon Thomas and D.J. Jones have had some impressive moments and Chris Jones and Quinton Dial have been solid as well. If camp performance leads to regular-season production, the Niners' many investments in this group in recent years should finally pay off.
Injured safeties: Obviously, it's not the fault of Eric Reid, Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt that they've suffered injuries early in training camp. The good news is that none of those ailments appears serious. The bad news is they are missing valuable repetitions in coordinator Robert Saleh's new scheme. There's plenty of time to get healthy and back to work (as Reid already has), but it's a disappointment not to have these guys in the mix, building chemistry with the rest of the defense.
The cornerbacks: The competition for the starting job opposite Rashard Robinson hasn't exactly developed how the Niners envisioned. Keith Reaser suffered a knee injury and has been day-to-day, but struggled a bit before that injury. Dontae Johnson has gotten most of the work with the starters with Reaser out and though he's had some good moments in practice this week, he also has been on the wrong end of some big plays in the passing game. Meanwhile, rookie Ahkello Witherspoon has yet to make his presence felt or earn reps with the first team. Robinson has also had some rough moments, though he's clearly the best of the group. He has been thrust into that No. 1 corner role and though he could develop into that, asking him to be a lockdown guy in just his second season is asking a lot.
WR Jeremy Kerley: It's not so much that Kerley has been bad as it is that he hasn't done much to stand out while other receivers make plays consistently. Kerley simply hasn't shown up much in team drills while other wideouts such as Pierre Garcon, Goodwin, Aldrick Robinson and Trent Taylor are regularly involved in the passing game. Kerley is a dependable, reliable veteran, but it's fair to wonder if others are passing him in the receiver pecking order.
Same as it ever was
Left tackle Joe Staley's name won't appear much in headlines or stories during camp, save for the occasional good one-liner he might drop in an interview. But that's because Staley is a human metronome who just does his job and does it well day in and day out. Staley has been his usual self in camp, even with so many talented defensive linemen challenging him from down to down. In fact, Staley actually looks a little better than he did a year ago at this time, perhaps because of how energized he has been by coach Kyle Shanahan's offense.
First (round) impressions
First-round picks Thomas and Reuben Foster have been as advertised in the early going. Both are mostly working with the backups for now, but that's probably not going to last much longer. Foster in particular has made a habit of making splash plays, and it's clear he's a level above the competition when playing against the third-team offense.
Running back competition heats up
Carlos Hyde and Tim Hightower have been the clear-cut top two running backs in this camp with Hyde getting most of the work with the starters, though Hightower also has worked his way in the mix. But there's a lot to figure out behind that duo. Rookie Joe Williams has yet to make a big impact, but still flashes the speed that drew the Niners to him in the draft on occasion. Undrafted rookie Matt Breida remains an intriguing prospect, though he has yet to prove it against a top defense. Kapri Bibbs hasn't made much of an impact but probably will get some opportunities moving forward.
Camp Shanahan, Part I
Shanahan has been a breath of fresh air around the Niners, who clearly are buying in to what he's selling. Shanahan has wowed his players with his ability to provide answers to just about any football question they can throw his way.
"Why is this offense successful? Why is this player doing something different from what you may think he should be doing? He’s got an answer for everything, very intelligent," center Daniel Kilgore said.
There's a long way to go, but the sense of stability Shanahan has brought has already altered the atmosphere in Santa Clara.