The Arizona Cardinals have been in the San Francisco 49ers shoes before, except the last time they were in a full rebuild, it was over a decade ago.
For the 49ers, it is all about getting valuable experience, while also trying to get better and ready to make a run in 2017 and beyond.
I asked David Fucillo about what is happening with the rookies on Niners Nation and in San Francisco.
It's been hit and miss. The team's 2 first round picks (DT DeForest Buckner and OG Joshua Garnett) are both in the starting lineup. Both have some good moments, but it's clear they have a lot of learning to do. But the experience is critical for them. Buckner seems to be showing a bit more just due to his mammoth size, but he also still gets pushed around a bit. Garnett is a solid run blocker, but is struggling as a pass blocker.
Cornerback Rashard Robinson, selected in the fourth round, has been arguably their best draft pick so far. He emerged as a starter when Jimmie Ward got hurt. The plan was to rotate him in as the first corner off the bench when Ward got back, but Robinson suffered a concussion and then an MCL sprain. He will not play this week due to the knee sprain.
Other than that, it's been disappointing returns. Third round pick Will Redmond has been rehabbing his torn ACL and although the 49ers GM said he would be ready for training camp, he will spend the season on IR. Their fifth through seventh round picks are a mix of inactive, practice squad, and lost to waivers. Ronald Blair is the one day three pick you might see a decent amount of on Sunday. The defensive lineman should get at least 20 snaps given the number of injuries along the defensive line.
Not only is there a rebuild, but the rookie class is dealing with some injuries. Garnett was a head scratcher, but he has some ability to assist Kelly in his rebuild.
They need a quarterback though, at least that is what we learned yesterday.