The 5 most interesting storylines from 49ers offseason program

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The 49ers concluded their offseason program this week with two minicamp practices and a strength and conditioning session Thursday before a six-week break.

Here are the five most interesting takeaways this spring from the team’s headquarters in Santa Clara:

Rookies will have a chance at serious playing time

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Tight end George Kittle, receiver Trent Taylor, running back Joe Williams, defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, linebacker Reuben Foster, cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, running back Matt Breida, defensive back Lorenzo Jerome, tight end Cole Hikutini and others have real opportunities to earn roles and roster spots at the start of the regular season.

And it makes sense for Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch, who are remaking San Francisco’s system and culture in the first year of their reconstruction plan.

The bulk’s of Kittle’s reps this week came with the starters. Taylor often shook free and found soft spots in the defense. Williams and Breida form an intriguing running back duo behind Carlos Hyde.

Witherspoon played with the first team while Rashard Robinson was held out with a minor injury. Hikutini, an undrafted free agent, might be the team’s most natural pass catching tight end. Jerome is a natural free safety and could be Jimmie Ward’s top back up.

Thomas and Foster, of course, could start in their first seasons, although neither first-round pick was a full participant this spring. Foster is continuing to recover from shoulder surgery while Thomas didn’t join the team until Thursday due to the rule that prohibits rookies from joining their new clubs until their college classes conclude.

There were no pads in these practices, so these rookies might find themselves in different situations when the physicality is ramped up in August. But, for now, rookies look like they’re figuring prominently into the 49ers’ equation in 2017.

Niners Wire