What else stands out?
The 49ers have gotten their roster down to 53 men. As Kyle Shanahan started on Monday, the roster we see today is unlikely to be the same come Week 1. Keep that in mind while you’re reading over the roster. “Final” is used loosely.
Once Maurice Hurst is placed on the short-term injured reserve at some point this week, the 49ers will have an additional roster spot. So, just because a player is waived today doesn’t mean they won’t end up on the roster later this week. Looking at you, Dontae Johnson.
Quarterback (2): Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance
Released: Nate Sudfeld
We wondered whether the 49ers would keep two or three quarterbacks. Once Lance suffered a “small bone chip” injury to his finger, it seemed likely that Shanahan would keep Sudfeld around at least until Lance recovered, but instead, for the first time during Shanahan’s tenure, the Niners are carrying just two quarterbacks.
Running backs (5): Raheem Mostert, Trey Sermon, Elijah Mitchell, JaMycal Hasty, Kyle Juszczyk
Released: Wayne Gallman, Josh Hokit
Wayne Gallman was the odd man out as the 49ers went with the more explosive player who has the higher upside. Gallman is the superior back between this group when it comes to pass protection, but there’s no substitution for big plays.
Mitchell is likely the starting kick returner. I’d guess Sermon serves as the this down back, but that could be by committee until someone takes over.
Tight ends (3): George Kittle, Ross Dwelly, Charlie Woerner
Released: Jordan Matthews, MyCole Pruitt
Usually, Kyle Shanahan rolls with four tight ends. However, Jordan Matthews and MyCole Pruitt were both released. With the goal being to field your “best 53,” the 49ers were always going to have to go light at one position. With Jalen Hurd cracking the roster, it was probably a bit easier to surrender some depth at tight end.
Dwelley and Woerner could contribute on special teams. The fourth tight end was never seeing the field on offense, save an injury. I wonder if we’ll see a fourth tight end added.
Wide receivers (6): Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Trent Sherfield, Mohamed Sanu, Jalen Hurd, Jauan Jennings
Released: Travis Benjamin
Waived: River Cracraft, Nsimba Webster
No real surprises here as these were the clear-cut five best receivers during training camp and the preseason, and Hurd’s upside is too good to give up on.
What this says is the team is comfortable with Aiyuk returning punts. During the preseason, Richie James, River Cracraft, Travis Benjamin, and Nsimba Webster had all gotten a crack a punt returner. Neither showcased enough consistency at wide receiver to make the roster.
Offensive line (8): Trent Williams, Laken Tomlinson, Alex Mack, Daniel Brunskill, Mike McGlinchey, Jaylon Moore, Aaron Banks, Tom Compton
Placed on IR: Shon Coleman
Released: Jake Brendel, Senio Kelemete
Waived: Alfredo Gutierrez, Corbin Kaufusi, Colton McKivitz, Dakoda Shepley
In one of the minor surprises from cutdown, the Niners held onto veteran journeyman Tom Compton over younger options Jake Brendel and Colton McKivitz. McKivitz was a fifth-round pick in last year’s draft but clearly didn’t develop like the front office had hoped.
Defensive line (10): Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Dee Ford, Javon Kinlaw, D.J. Jones, Arden Key, Kevin Givens, Kentavius Street, Maurice Hurst, Zach Kerr
Released: Eddie Yarbrough
Waived: Alex Barrett, Darrion Daniels
Suspended: Jordan Willis
As previously mentioned, Hurst will be shifted over to the injured reserve at some point this week to give the 49ers another roster spot to work with, which could open the door for Yarbrough or Barrett to sneak back onto the roster. Barrett played particularly well this preseason, but Kerr, an eight-year NFL veteran, was quite impressive as well. The Niners once again bet on the more proven player.
I wonder how many teams called the 49ers about players such as Givens or Street. It’s tough to trade young talented pass rushers with upside. The Niners made the correct decision to hold onto those two, if so.
Linebackers (5): Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, Azeez Al-Shaair, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Marcell Harris
Waived: Justin Hilliard, Elijah Sullivan
After the 49ers traded Jonas Griffith to the Broncos, it cleared the way for Harris, a recently converted safety, to receive the final spot alongside special teamer Flannigan-Fowles. Warner and Greenlaw’s spots were obviously never in doubt, and no one, except perhaps Griffith, was in a position to challenge Al-Shaair for the primary backup role. Hilliard will likely return to the team’s practice squad assuming he clears waivers.
Cornerbacks (6): Jason Verrett, Emmanuel Moseley, K’Waun Williams, Ambry Thomas, Deommodore Lenoir, Davontae Harris
Released: Dontae Johnson, Alexander Myres
There are significant questions about the depth of this group behind Verrett, Moseley, and Williams, three corners with injury histories. Johnson is the only backup with any previous NFL experience Verrett, but he was released.
Thomas, a third-round pick in this year’s draft, struggled with inconsistency all preseason and while Lenoir was the team’s best corner this preseason, it’s always a risk when a team is an injury or two away from relying on a rookie fifth-round pick.
Harris has experience with the Broncos and Ravens. He feels like the emergency cornerback the team can play to avoid another Brian Allen fiasco.
Safeties (4): Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt, Talanoa Hufanga, Tavon Wilson
Released: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Jared Mayden, Kai Nacua
Veteran safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had one interception on Sunday, but Hufanga’s breakout preseason made it far easier for the 49ers to bet on youth in their defensive backfield.
Three veterans and a rookie who plays like a veteran. I wonder how often we’ll see Hufanaga play this season. Based on what he did during August, he deserves to play.
Specialists (3): Robbie Gould, Mitch Wishnowsky, Taybor Peppers
There was never any question about who would be the 49ers kicker, punter, or long snapper this preseason, but nonetheless, Gould, Wishnowsky, and Peppers are back atop the depth chart.
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