While the majority of 49ers starters were unfit for this, there was still enough to take the 49ers away
1. Difficult decisions will be made in the running back position.
There’s no clarity at this point on how the 49ers’ backfield is going to shake out. Elijah Mitchell is a last spot slot and will probably get the nod as the number one back if he is healthy in week one, but even that is not a given at the moment.
Jeff Wilson Jr. missed his second straight preseason game, but is also a player who gives the 49ers a strong veteran presence at the position, something Kyle Shanahan longs for. Despite his absence from these preseason games, I expect Wilson to be among the players in the final 53.
Outside of that it gets really tricky. Trey Sermon was a top 100 pick just over a year ago, but had it not been for the capital invested in him, it would be hard to argue that he deserves a place on the list more than the other players on the list. bubble.
Back to this match, where Ty Davis-Price and Jordan Mason both put in strong performances against the Vikings. Davis-Price had ten carries for 41 yards and showed a physical level that would indicate he is a strong candidate to be the battering ram at the position in games where the 49ers will run the ball to the milking clock with a lead.
Jordan Mason looked fantastic, averaging 6.3 yards per carry on nine hasty attempts, while showing off the ability to run with conviction and finish by contact. It’s more than strength with Mason though, he’s got a good feel for when to make decisive cuts to this zone run schedule, and if roster spots were handed out solely based on performance, he’d be anything but a lock considering how he’s performed. in the training camp and the preseason.
JaMycal Hasty also had a receiving touchdown and ran an excellent route out of the backfield to beat the linebacker in cover. Overall, the 49ers will keep five running backs on the final roster, with one of those spots reserved for Kyle Juszczyk.
The 49ers may need to consider keeping six this year as there will be at least one, if not two, talented fullbacks who will be locked out if they stick to the status quo at five. I also don’t like their chances of putting a player like Mason on the practice squad. I wouldn’t risk betting he’ll make it through waivers.
Anyway, there are going to be some tough calls. At the moment you might be able to make some calls on Sermon if another team is interested, but I would be genuinely surprised if they cut out a player they invested so heavily in a season ago. Hopefully the third preseason game will provide some much needed transparency on the whole situation.
2. Javon Kinlaw Flashes His pro bowl ceiling
It was one sack in a preseason game so I don’t blame anyone for rolling his eyes at the aforementioned subtitle. But allow me to explain why. A player of tremendous physical talent, Kinlaw has relied heavily on those athletic qualities early in his NFL career.
My opinion with Kinlaw has always been that he will have a rapid rise once he has more reps in the competition and can improve things like hand placement, pad level, etc. We have a great example of the development that had come with more reps when he fired Kellen Mond on a 3rd and 7th late in the first quarter.
Kinlaw was able to punch the right guard in with a club, hitting the guard on their inner shoulder and using his superhuman strength to move the guard sideways before storming through the A-opening to take down Mond.
This was a great example of Kinlaw’s ability to bring together his elite athleticism and brute strength with sound engineering in regards to his hand placement, and the result was that he absolutely wrecked an attacking lineman in the inside on his way to a sack in the middle. backfield.
These are the kind of plays Kinlaw is capable of, and they will come in greater numbers as he becomes more comfortable in his future role. Remember, he missed much of his first two years due to some unfortunate injuries, and the missed time stole much of the time he would have spent developing early in his NFL career.
Kinlaw is a special player and there’s a reason the 49ers drafted him where they did. He gave you a glimpse of what he’s capable of in this league with that sack against the Vikings, and it’ll be interesting to see how Kinlaw’s story shifts now that he’s healthy and going into the season as someone who plays with a burden off their shoulders.
Drake Jackson was an absolute bargain
There’s no reason Drake Jackson should still have been on the board when the 49ers took him late into the second round of the 2022 NFL draft. Maybe teams were concerned about his weight being low or didn’t have the patience to develop someone who has great qualities but seemed to potentially need half a red shirt year to get started.
Whatever the reason, it’s not good enough to justify dropping Jackson into the lap of the 49ers, where they already had an embarrassment of wealth on the deepest line of defense in the league. However, through two preseason games, Jackson has shown that he not only has a high ceiling that can be reached through a methodical development plan, but is also ready to make an immediate contribution.
His ability to operate in space, fill fill runs, and just be a disruptive presence in general is extremely encouraging for a player who is still a long way from reaching his physical potential. Jackson has the ability to develop into an above-average starter in this league, and that may come much sooner than expected.
Combine that with an already talented 49ers defense front and the future remains bright for the position group that is the engine that keeps this squad going.
4. The backup quarterbacks look good
Nate Sudfeld and Brock Purdy went 27/40 together for 230 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. While I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on a preseason game against second and third divisions, you can also only play who’s in front of you.
Other than an accident at Purdy’s goal line, I thought the quarterbacks did what they had to do in this game. Both clearly look comfortable playing this offense and have shown the ability to get the ball where it needs to be within their progression at a level that is encouraging for players who will be buried behind Trey Lance on the depth chart.
While it won’t deliver the same level of excitement as the QB1 discussion, having a capable backup on the roster could be the difference between being a playoff team or missing the cut, as 49ers fans have been doing for the past few seasons. seen. The 49ers have a couple of guys that both fit that mold.
Robbie Gould and Mitch Wishnowsky have strong games
I can imagine someone reading this and saying, “What a snoozer this special teams game was to stand out in a preseason game.” While I wouldn’t push that rating back too hard, I also think the specialists deserve recognition with this kind of performance, whether it’s a practice match or not.
Robbie Gould was 3/3 on the day, kicking kicks from 49, 46 and 28 yards respectively. Gould remains one of the most reliable legs in the sport and is a huge asset to this 49ers team with championship aspirations. Having a kicker like Gould, who has shown that he has ice water in his veins at big moments, is something that should never be overlooked.
Mitch Wishnowsky also had a day to himself, starting four punts for a net total of 210 yards, with a length of 59. Two of those punts landed inside the Minnesota 20-yard line, including a ball that was knocked down in the Vikings- line. – yard line. Very strong day from the 49ers specialist group, and I also have to give a quick nod to long snapper Taybor Pepper for his part in the success of the special teams unit in Minnesota.