The 49ers final (probably for a day) is here. We know the team will keep three quarterbacks. So here’s a look at the rest of the roster.
Matt Barrows of The Athletic, DE Jordan Willis and TE Tyler Kroft have agreed to sign with the team later this week after Jimmie Ward and Curtis Robinson have been placed on the injured reserve.
Quarterbacks (3): Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo, Brock Purdy
As Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday afternoon, Jimmy’s presence doesn’t change Lance. It’s his team. Kudos to Purdy for winning a spot on the roster during the preseason. He was entertaining to watch.
Once week 1 comes, I imagine we’ll see Purdy on the practice squad while the team has two active quarterbacks. Expect Purdy to be protected. This could be a way for the 49ers to manipulate the roster and make sure no other team loots Purdy.
Running backs (6) Elijah Mitchell, Jeff Wilson Jr., Trey Sermon, Ty Davis-Price, Jordan Mason, Kyle Juszczyk
This is a fascinating group as Mitchell starts out as the RB1, but there can be a new leader every week.
Mason averaged five yards per carry during the preseason, with 3.5 yards on contact, and had 31% of his runs for the first downs in the preseason. He’s seen as a force back at 223 pounds, but he’s faster than most realize. Mason is legit and the 49ers probably thought it was too risky to sneak him through waivers.
TDP and Sermon will have plenty of opportunities throughout the season. This can become a battle of attrition.
Wide recipients (5): Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Danny Gray, Jauan Jennings, Ray-Ray McCloud
It looked like the 49ers would keep Malik Turner after Shanahan spoke highly of him last week, but the argument I made a few weeks ago that you would use/need RB6 more than WR6 came true.
McCloud, Jennings and probably even Gray will have to call in special teams. Even though the team only had five wideouts, this could well be the best group under Shanahan.
Tight Ends (3): George Kittle, Charlie Woerner, Ross Dwelley
Kittle and Woerner are the clear top two tight ends on the roster. Whoever TE3 was would have been a special teamer. Dwelley has been part of the team for a few years and his fame probably kept him close to Tyler Kroft.
Offensive Line (9): Trent Williams, Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, Spencer Burford, Mike McGlinchey, Jaylon Moore, Colton McKivitz, Nick Zakelj, Daniel Brunskill
I wonder how much Zakelj, being a design choice, made him earn a spot over Jason Poe. Zakelj has a bit more versatility, but it seems far from finished. Still, he is stuck with a team-friendly number until 2025. If you have two development projects, the one with longer control is always more favorable.
Don’t be surprised if Zakelj is the center of the team’s future and is treated like a red shirt to him this year as he learns the position.
Honestly, everyone had problems down the offensive line during the preseason. Fortunately, health permitting, Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey will hide many of those problems.
Outside of tackles and Brunskill there is youth/inexperience everywhere. That must be nerve-wracking knowing you’re an injury away from playing someone who isn’t ready.
Defense Line (9): Samson Ebukam, Javon Kinlaw, Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, Drake Jackson, Kevin Givens, Hasaan Ridgeway, Kerry Hyder, Charles Omenihu
We’ve said it many times during the off-season, but this group will single-handedly win games for the Niners. Their second team could give some starters in the league a run for their money.
I think Omenihu is in for a big year. The depth allows Jackson to move slowly and put him in situations where he can thrive.
If Jimmie Ward goes to the IR, expect Dontae Johnson or Kemoko Turay back.
Linebacker (5): Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, Azeez Al-Shaar, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Oren Burks
One of the most direct positions on the team. There are three clear starters with two special teamers.
Cornerbacks (5): Charvarius Ward, Emmanuel Moseley, Samuel Womack, Deommodore Lenoir, Ambry Thomas
Ward, Moseley and Verrett (who doesn’t count against the 53-man roster because he was on the PUP list over the summer) are easily the most talented trio of corners the Niners have had with Shanahan. Obviously Verrett’s health is an ongoing question, but rookie Samuel Womack looks like an instant difference maker at nickel. Sophomore players Deommodore Lenoir and Ambry Thomas round out their depth.
Protections (4): Jimmie Ward, Talanoa Hufanga, George Odum, Tarvarius Moore
Jimmie Ward will move to the injured reserve as soon as the roster is final, freeing up a new spot on the roster. With Ward out for at least the first few games of the season, the pressure will be on Talanoa Hufanga to make a big jump in his second season.
George Odum and Tarvarius Moore will both be tested early in the season and compete for reps while Ward is absent. Moore still has all the physical skills to be a fantastic safety but struggled with the basics this preseason. Odum, on the other hand, is below par, but has performed well at other safeties in Indianapolis.
Veteran Tashaun Gipson and the impressive unwritten free agent Qwuantrezz Knight were both unable to make the first draft of the 53-strong roster, although they are both practice candidates with a chance to return once, Ward is IR’d. It’s also worth bearing in mind that former Niner’s Jaquiski Tartt and Tony Jefferson have both been released. Either could make a comeback.
Specialists (3): Robbie Gould, Mitch Wishnowsky, Taybor Pepper
No surprises here. The 49ers stick with their incumbents at long snapper, kicker, and punt.