Randy Moss battles 49ers teammates, Father Time


Training camp is finally almost here. They allow tackling there and everything. Around the League will count down the top 30 position battles to watch throughout the preseason.

No. 12. San Francisco 49ers WR: Randy Moss vs. Father time. (Plus Mario Manningham and A.J. Jenkins.)

Top 30 training camp position battles

No. 30: Seahawks running backs
No. 29: Packers No. 3 receiver
No. 28: Broncos backup running back
No. 27: Bengals cornerbacks
No. 26: Raiders backup quarterback
No. 25: Cardinals receiver
No. 24: Jets right tackle
No. 23: Jets linebacker
No. 22: Redskins running back
No. 21: Giants No. 3 receiver
No. 20: Patriots receiver
No. 19: Colts tight end
No. 18: Rams receivers
No. 17: Jaguars quarterbacks
No. 16: Bears wide receivers
No. 15: NFL safety battles
No. 14: Jaguars No. 2 receiver
No. 13: Bears left tackle
No. 12: Randy Moss vs. Father time
No. 11: Lions receivers
No. 10: Cardinals running back
No. 9: Ravens pass rusher
No. 8: Dolphins quarterback
No. 7: Buccaneers running back
No. 6: Steelers defensive end
No. 5: Dolphins wide receiver
No. 4: Cardinals quarterback
No. 3: The Oakland Raiders
No. 2: Titans quarterback
No. 1: Seahawks quarterback

• There's an assumption that Moss is the San Francisco 49ers No. 1 receiver. Niners coach Jim Harbaugh and every beat writer in San Francisco has talked up Moss incessantly all offseason. We're not assuming anything about a 35-year-old receiver that didn't play football last year.

• Everyone seems to forget Moss was awful in 2010. Three teams gave up on him. He struggled to get off physical coverage near the line of scrimmage. That's the type of coverage that isn't allowed until camp. Let's see how he does against a real defense.

• I left Michael Crabtree out of this mix because he should be locked into a starting gig. He may have his first useful training camp if he can stay healthy. Manningham is likely to be the slot receiver, but he should be a superior player to Moss at this stage of their careers. It shouldn't be a shock if Manningham passes Moss. Jenkins is a first-round pick, yet no one expects him to make any impact after a rough OTA season.

• The 49ers have plenty of depth if Moss doesn't work out. (And they can cut him easily.) Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams provide big special teams value. (San Francisco has so much depth everywhere -- we could have done a position battles on their great running back competition between Kendall Hunter, Brandon Jacobs, and LaMichael James.)

Projected winner: Father time will remain undefeated. Those expecting a miracle from Moss will be disappointed.