SANTA CLARA -- Last year the rookies who played the most total snaps for the 49ers were safety Jaquiski Tartt (898), outside linebacker Eli Harold (507), defensive lineman Arik Armstead (481) and tight end Blake Bell (355). The rounds in which they were drafted: 2,3,1 and 4.
The year before that, the rookie snap leaders were cornerback Dontae Johnson (704), outside linebacker Aaron Lynch (638), inside linebacker Chris Borland (608) and offensive lineman Marcus Martin (544). Their draft positions: 4, 5, 3, 3.
In 2013, the order went like this: safety Eric Reid (1060), tight end Vance McDonald (593), outside linebacker Corey Lemonier (456) and cornerback Darryl Morris (163). Their draft rounds: 1,2,3, undrafted.
Which is to say, predicting rookie playing time isn't as simple as looking at who was drafted first. With that in mind, here is an estimate as far as which 49ers rookies will play the most in 2016.
1. G Joshua Garnett (1st, 28th overall)
Any guard taken in the first round is expected to win a starting spot and offensive linemen often can play 100 percent of their team's offensive snaps. Joe Staley and Erik Pears, for example, accomplished that feat last season. Garnett does have one early hurdle, however: Because Stanford does not have its final exams until the second week of June, the only offseason sessions Garnett may be able to take part in are the final days of the team's June 7-9 mandatory minicamp.
2. DE DeForest Buckner (1st, 7th overall)
Buckner could very well end up starting at right defensive end, the same position Justin Smith played for years for the 49ers. While Buckner logged more than 900 snaps in each of the last two seasons at Oregon, he likely will become part of rotation on the defensive line, especially when Glenn Dorsey (ACL) returns to action. Unlike Arik Armstead, last year's first-round pick from Oregon (which like Stanford is on the quarter system), Buckner already has graduated and is thus permitted to take part in the whole offseason program.
3. DL/OLB Ronald Blair (5th, 142nd overall)
Blair seems to be able to play a number of positions, which ought to get him on the field early. His initial spot could be as a third-down pass-rush specialist. General manager Trent Baalke has found a few gems in the fifth-round rough -- Lynch, Quinton Dial, Daniel Kilgore -- and Blair appears to have potential as well. That he led all of the defensive line drills at the team’s recent rookie minicamp was an early, encouraging sign.
4. RB Kelvin Taylor (6th, 211th overall)
Taylor doesn't jump out among rookie running backs for his physical gifts. But he's mature and has been well-prepared by his famous running back father, Fred Taylor. The 49ers have no proven depth at running back after Carlos Hyde. Which is to say, Taylor has an opportunity to leapfrog a number of players with a solid offseason and training camp.
5. WR Aaron Burbridge (6th, 213th)
Burbridge is in a similar position as Taylor. That is, there is exactly one proven wide player, Torrey Smith, at wide receiver. Like Taylor, Burbridge is not impressive physically. But he was very productive in a tough conference last season. With a new coaching staff making decisions at the position, Burbridge has as good a shot as any receiver not named Smith to see action this season.
6. CB Will Redmond (3rd, 68th overall)
Redmond tore his ACL in October but was in uniform and on the field when the 49ers defensive backs were going through their early drills in the recent rookie minicamp. That bodes well for Redmond being available for the start of training camp. The 49ers never settled on a starting cornerback opposite Tramaine Brock last year. Redmond also is a candidate as a nickel cornerback, which might be a need if a starting safety got hurt and Jimmie Ward moved to safety.
7. NT Darren Lake (undrafted)
Lake became buried on a very talented Alabama defensive line and also probably was hurt by the overall defensive line depth in this year's draft. He has excellent size for a nose tackle (6-2, 329 pounds) and has the longest arms (34 7/8 inches) of anyone in San Francisco's rookie class. He's also the only nose tackle they added. (Oregon's Alex Balducci is trying out as a guard). Last year's starter, Ian Williams, is dealing with an ankle injury and his status at the start of the season is unknown. Dial and Mike Purcell are other possibilities at nose tackle.
8. T John Theus or T Fahn Cooper (5th, 145th overall; 5th, 174th overall)
It's looking more likely that the Week 1 starting tackles will be Joe Staley and Trent Brown. If that's the case, the 49ers will need a swing tackle. Theus and Cooper will compete with veteran Pears and each other for that role. Pears has vastly more experience, but the rookies likely are quicker than Pears, who struggled at right tackle last season. Pears also could be needed at guard.
9. WR Devon Cajuste (undrafted)
Like Burbridge, Cajuste is being eyed for the role of slot receiver. Chip Kelly has liked big bodies there in the past, and at 6-3, 234 pounds, Cajuste would be the 49ers' biggest receiver if he makes the team. Unlike Garnett, Cajuste already has graduated from Stanford and can be on hand for all of the offseason program.
10. QB Jeff Driskel (6th, 207th overall)
No one expects a late sixth-round quarterback to play anything more than mop-up as a rookie. However, the door to a possible Colin Kaepernick trade is not yet entirely closed. If Kaepernick is dealt and Blaine Gabbert gets hurt, guess who would be left?