Former Stanford standout Shayne Skov still isn’t a lock to make the 49ers roster.
The inside linebacker has had a great training camp and first exhibition game, but Skov will be in a battle to make the cut. Behind starters NaVorro Bowman and Michael Wilhoite, the 49ers have Nick Moody – who’s looked strong this summer – and veteran Philip Wheeler and Desmond Bishop at the inside linebacker spots.
Yet Skov certainly has caught the eye of defensive coordinator Eric Mangini, who watched Skov with the practice squad in 2014.
“I think he looks different – not just in training camp, but even from the spring,” Mangini told Tyler Emerick of 49ers.com this week. “He’s had so much more work this year than he did last year and that’s helped significantly. I can’t say enough about his recall and his ability to self correct.”
In the preseason opener vs. the Texans, Skov started in Bowman’s spot and had eight tackles. He played both inside linebacker and on special teams. When he was in the game, he was the designated defensive play caller.
Mangini has been impressed by Skov’s coachability and intelligence.
“He started the game and ran the defense really well,” he said. “He’s a very, very smart guy and does a great job with adjustments. Very rarely do you have to coach Shayne on the same mistake. He sees it, he understands what the coaching point is and typically it doesn’t happen again. He’s getting a lot of playing time, which is great for him and helps us see where he’s going at this point. I was happy with what he did.”
Skov was a terrific player for Stanford, but went undrafted last year. He signed with the 49ers but spent the entire season on the practice squad.
One big knock against him has been a lack of speed. Before the 2014 draft his 40-yard dash time was just 5.11 seconds.
“I’m not a speed demon,” he said at the time. “But I know I’m fast enough.”
After a year of study and practice, he’s getting a chance to show he belongs. His next test will be Sunday night against the Cowboys. He knows he’ll have to fight for a job.
“I’m fighting, scratching and clawing, and so is everyone else in that room,” he said recently. “There’s 90 of us and there will be 53 soon enough.”