Only a few positions on the 49ers roster have the starters set in stone. The safety position is one of them.
Eric Reid is coming off an incredible rookie season finishing with 77 combined tackles and four interceptions. He was picked to be in the Pro Bowl and he is only 22 years old
The 49ers did lose a key player to their defense, Donte Whitner. To replace him, the 49ers picked up a veteran safety from the Indianapolis Colts, Antoine Bethea. Bethea is not only a two time pro bowler, but he is also a super bowl champion.
Reid and Bethea will be the starting free and strong safeties, respectively. Jimmie Ward, who will also play cornerback, may have some playing time as a safety as he played that position when he attended Northern Illinois. If either Reid or Bethea does get injured during the season, Ward is the next guy in line.
C.J. Spillman will find some playing time this season, but a lot of it will be on special teams. He is one of the biggest threats as a special teams player, but I don’t think he will find much playing time on defense. He will most likely only be used when there are three safeties on the field at one point.
Craig Dahl actually has some NFL experience and could be a solid backup if the 49ers send Ward the cornerback route.
The backup spots all depend on what the coaching staff decides to do with Ward. He will be a solid player in either position, but I see them keeping him as a nickel corner for now, but they will most likely develop him as a safety as well.