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Five Matchups to Watch During 49ers OTAs

OTAs start May 24 for the 49ers.
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OTAs start May 24 for the 49ers. These will be the five most intriguing matchups to watch.

DT Javon Kinlaw vs. OG Aaron Banks

Kinlaw struggled last season during training camp to beat rookie guard Colton McKivitz during one-on-ones. Kinlaw made McKivitz look terrific, but McKivitz isn't terrific, and he played poorly during the season. Kinlaw had his positive moments, but did not produce much -- only 1.5 sacks. Now, the 49ers expect Kinlaw to make a major jump in Year 2 of his career. And he'll need to improve, because this offseason he'll have to face second-round pick Aaron Banks, who's much better than McKivitz. Big test for Kinlaw.

OT Mike McGlinchey vs. DE Samson Ebukam

McGlinchey came into a training camp underweight last year and got pushed around by everyone all season. This season, he should be in better shape, because the 49ers will have a full offseason training program. And if he's in shape, he should perform well during one-on-one pass-rush drills against Ebukam, who's not refined pass rusher. But he is strong and fast, so he should give McGlinchey all he can handle.

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WR Brandon Aiyuk vs. CB Ambry Thomas

Thomas was the top cornerback the 49ers drafted this year -- they hope he can develop into a No. 1 corner in the NFL. If he can cover Brandon Aiyuk, who looks like a future No. 1 wide receiver, then the future will be bright for Thomas.

TE Ross Dwelley vs. SS Talanoa Hufanga

Hufanga isn't the fastest safety, so he could struggle covering some of the more athletic tight ends, such as George Kittle. But Ross Dwelley is even slower Hufanga. So it will be interesting to see if Hufanga can hang with Dwelley, who is surprisingly difficult to cover one on one.

MLB Fred Warner vs. RB Trey Sermon

Sermon ran a route that made undrafted free agent linebacker Justin Hilliard fall down during rookie mini-camp. If Sermon also can beat Warner, arguably the best linebacker in the NFL, then Sermon will be quite a weapon in the passing game.