• Matt Woolsey

Hidden Gems: Potential Impact Players on the 49ers Roster

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The final cuts have been made, and the 49ers’ 53-man roster is set. San Francisco is set to embark on a journey towards the championship. As long as the red and gold can stay healthy, they will be in the mix. They have the coach and enough talent to go the distance. I don’t mean to open old wounds, but they have been there before. The only difference this time is there were a few players they had then who they do not have now.

Furthermore, there are a few players now that they did not have then.

Jalen Hurd

Many people were wondering if Jalen Hurd was going to make the roster. The former third-round pick missed his first two seasons with the 49ers due to a back injury and a torn ACL. I am not saying Hurd is Derrick Henry, but they have similar builds; Hurd has played running back in the past, and if you try to hit him up high, you will bounce off of him. Head coach and mad scientist Kyle Shanahan probably have plays designed specifically to give Hurd the ball, as he is a big, physical player. As I have said in the past, Shanahan has a type.

Travis Benjamin

No, that is not a typo, and yes, I know Benjamin was cut from the team. When he signed, I figured he would be a camp body.

However, hear me out:the 49ers parted ways with wide receiver and punt returner Richie James. They also cut Nsimba Webster, whom the Bears claimed off waivers. Many thought Webster would be brought back to the 49ers practice squad as a potential player to move up to the main roster. I know,most believe that Benjamin is in that spot. For now, Brandon Aiyuk is pegged as the 49ers punt returner, but do not be surprised if Benjamin is brought up to relieve Aiyuk of those duties. Not that Aiyuk cannot do them; the question is, should he in the first place?Nevertheless, Benjamin can flip the field on punt returns, which can change the outcome of a game very quickly.

Zach Kerr

Zach Kerr is not in the starting lineup, but something the 49ers did often in 2019 was keep the defense fresh with rotations. Arik Armstead had a breakout year in 2019 but saw a decline in 2020. The difference in those two years is Nick Bosa. With Bosa seemingly back from his ACL injury, maybe Armstead can regain some of the magic he had two years ago. That will cause teams to try to run up the middle to stay away from Bosa and Armstead. This is where Kerr comes into play. Last year with Carolina, Kerr had 32 tackles, nine quarterback hits, and two sacks. That means he can get to the quarterback or stop the run for no gain. If Kerr breaks through the line, it will be an all-out sprint between he and Bosa and Armstead to get to the quarterback first. I would hate to be under center if that happens.

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