• Travis Hawkins

(Too) Early 49ers 53-man Roster Projections

Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann

The 2020 NFL draft is in the books. The 49ers wheeled and dealed their way to five draft selections and an All-Pro left tackle and along the way said good-bye to three players.

The 49ers traded running back Matt Breida and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin for additional draft capital on day three of the draft in moves that were expected; what was not expected was the retirement of team captain, left tackle Joe Staley.

The Niners acted quickly to fill the large void created by Staley’s retirement by trading for Trent Williams, formerly of the Washington Redskins. Williams will plug right in at left tackle but the departures of Breida and Goodwin will create opportunities for some new players to make the 53-man roster.

Let’s take a look at who makes the cut:

Quarterbacks (2):

Jimmy Garoppolo

Nick Mullens

Kyle Shanahan opted to keep three quarterbacks in 2019 saying, “We’re not ever going to just get rid of NFL players. And I know we have three NFL quarterbacks that can help us.” Not coincidently in 2019, Garoppolo was coming off an ACL tear and had not played more than five games without injury in his career but Garoppolo played all 19 games in 2019 and showed he could stay healthy. The 49ers are all in on winning the Super Bowl in 2020 and if they need a third quarterback, those plans have gone horribly wrong.

Running Backs (5):

Kyle Juszczyk

Raheem Mostert

Tevin Coleman

Jeff Wilson

Jerick McKinnon

Kyle Shanahan loves running backs and trimming this group down is likely to give him agita; how is he supposed to choose between his hand-picked free agent signing (McKinnon) and an undrafted free agent like JaMycal Hasty?

Wide Receivers (7):

Deebo Samuel

Kendrick Bourne

Brandon Aiyuk

Trent Taylor

Jalen Hurd

Richie James

Dante Pettis

The Shanahan offense is a complex one for rookie wide receivers to pick up even in a year with full organized team activities and training camp, but in a year where all those things are up in the air prior experience is going to be more important than ever; with that in mind, the Niners opt to give Dante Pettis one last chance to realize his potential while being on the shortest possible leash.

Tight Ends (3):

George Kittle

Charlie Woerner

Ross Dwelley

This is probably the easiest decision of any position group on offense.

Offensive Tackle (4):

Trent Williams

Mike McGlinchey

Justin Skule

Shon Coleman

Not much mystery as far as the tackles are concerned.

Guard (3):

Laken Tomlinson

Daniel Brunskill

Colton McKivitz

Brunskill takes over as the starter at right guard as the 49ers will likely look to put their best five offensive linemen on the field. McKivitz was a tackle in college but played across the offensive line at the Senior Bowl and should find a home at guard.

Center (2):

Weston Richburg

Ben Garland

No surprises here. Garland proved to be a quality backup when Richburg went down with an injury last season and he will provide depth at guard as well.

Defensive Line (9):

Nick Bosa

Dee Ford

Ronald Blair

Kerry Hyder

Arik Armstead

D.J. Jones

Javon Kinlaw

Solomon Thomas

Jullian Taylor

Kerry Hyder reunites with defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, with whom he had his best season in 2016 while both were with Detroit. The 49ers defensive line is a flexible group of players that can play both inside and outside to take advantage of favorable matchups.

Linebackers (5):

Kwon Alexander

Fred Warner

Dre Greenlaw

Joe Walker

Azeez Al-Shaair

The Niners add Joe Walker, who started eleven games for Arizona in 2019, to an already deep linebacking corps.

Cornerbacks (6):

Richard Sherman

Emmanuel Moseley

K’Wuan Williams

Ahkello Witherspoon

D.J. Reed

Tim Harris

The Niners made it clear that they have confidence in the cornerbacks that are already on the roster when they did not draft one in the 2020 draft and as a result only one new addition joins the group. After a redshirt year, Tim Harris makes the squad, and D.J Reed’s versatility land him a spot on the roster over the often-injured, but more talented Jason Verrett.

Safety (4):

Jaquiski Tartt

Jimmie Ward

Tarvarius Moore

Marcell Harris

Again, no surprises here.

Specialists (3):

Robbie Gould

Mitch Wishnowsky

Kyle Nelson

In all likelihood NFL teams will face less time to get ready for the upcoming season, which should favor teams that have less turnover. “Run it back” has been the mantra of the 49ers all offseason, and that is reflected in the 53-man roster. The 49ers take advantage of a truncated offseason to sneak seventh-round pick, wide receiver Jauan Jennings, and undrafted free agent running back JaMycal Hasty, among others onto the practice squad.

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