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On Saturday, the 49ers completed their arduous cutdown of their offseason 80-man roster to the 53-man squad the team will carry into the first game of the season against the Arizona Cardinals. On Sunday they completed this process by finalizing their initial group of 16 players that will make up their Practice Squad.
When asked about the construction and makeup of the roster and practice squad, General Manager John Lynch said "First and foremost, putting the best possible collection of the right 53, and, you know arriving there is always a great competition at a lot of different spots. The numbers on the practice squad going up to 16 was implemented because of COVID but it's something I love. It gives you some nice flexibility. I'm really excited about the group we kept both in young developmental players and these vets that entrusted us as a place that they want to be, you know, I think it speaks to, guys enjoy it when they come here and they want to be a part of what they believe will be something special."
Breaking down each position group, you can see some of the thought processes that went into the construction of the roster.
Just like last year, the 49ers opted to keep three QBs on the roster. The crisis with COVID still raging through America likely played into this decision, as keeping three signal callers on the depth chart ensures that should one get sick, it will not derail your offense.
Jeff Wilson Jr.
With a fully healthy Jerick McKinnon, the 49ers opted to keep 4 RBs in addition to Juszczyk at FB. None of the RBs picked up following the draft process made the final roster, as the team prioritized experience and familiarity while making their decisions.
Shortly before the final 53-man roster was announced, NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco revealed that the team would be removing WR Deebo Samuel off of the Non-Football Injury list after rehabbing from the surgery he had on his foot this offseason. Should Samuel be ready for Week 1, the wide receiver group looks especially deep.
The 49ers were finally able to land their second receiving tight end threat to help take some pressure off of TE1 George Kittle. Reed has looked good in minimal reps at camp, but adding him to the equation will cause nightmares along the middle of the field for opposing defenses.
Last year’s draft pick of Skule and signing of Daniel Brunskill paid dividends through the myriad of injuries the offensive line dealt with last season and kept them in contention for their ultimate Super Bowl berth. This season will test the resolve of the group early, as C Weston Richburg will start the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and will be ineligible to practice or play for the first six weeks of the season.
Kerry Hyder Jr.
While the defensive line will look markedly different without previous stalwart DeForest Buckner, Adding Givens and Street into the rotation as inside pass rushers will help lessen the regression of productivity along the inside of the line and should help keep the defensive line one of the teams core strengths.
While Fred Wsrner is not officially part of the 53-man roster to start the season due to being on the Reserve/COVID list, the team left the roster at 52 and are clearly planning for him to be available sooner than later. Whether he will be available for Week 1 will be something we will keep monitoring.
The Cornerback corps remains largely the same as it did to start the season last year. The main difference is that CB Jason Verrett appears to be fully healthy from the injuries that limited his snaps last season before ultimately landing him on the injured reserve list.
No change at all to the group as it was last year. Though Safety Johnathan Cyprien made a case for himself to be a part of the Week 1 roster, the team ultimately sided with familiarity and experience with their initial makeup.
No change from last year and no competition.
WR River Cracraft
S Johnathan Cyprien
DL Darrion Daniels
OL Hroniss Grasu
TE Chase Harrell
CB Tim Harris Jr.
RB JaMycal Hasty
FB Josh Hokit
WR Jauan Jennings
CB Dontae Johnson
DL Dion Jordan
S Jared Mayden
OL Dakoda Shepley
OL William Sweet
LB Joe Walker
WR Kevin White
Due to the ongoing pandemic, waiver claims following each team’s roster cutdown were minimal compared to previous years.
The 49ers had no claims made against any of their players and made no successful claims themselves.The Practice Squad has a good mix of youth and experience as well as fundamental talent and physical prowess. Honing and grooming this group into future contributors will be something I see the 49ers taking great pleasure in
What do you think of the Roster and Practice Squad? Any changes you would’ve made? Let us know on twitter!
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