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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Standout players from Week 2 of 49ers preseason

Rohan Chakravarthi
Aug 22, 2023 at 7:13 PM--

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After a brutal 34-7 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1 of the preseason, the San Francisco 49ers bounced back for a 21-20 comeback win on a game-winning field goal against the Denver Broncos in Week 2.

Of course, the quarterbacks were in the spotlight for much of the game, as starter Brock Purdy returned to live-game action for the first time since suffering a torn UCL in the 49ers' NFC Championship Game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles back in January.

But, there were other players who deserve credit for their performances from Saturday, as several improved their stock heading into the final preseason outing.

Here were the standout players from Week 2 of the preseason, which I talked about in-depth when recapping the game on our podcast down below.

WR Ronnie Bell

The player of the game on Saturday, Ronnie Bell had himself a monster day, catching seven passes for 114 yards on nine targets, all of which easily led the team.

Bell won in several different ways, flourishing with his route-running, as well as after catch, while becoming a favorite target of both backup quarterbacks.

Bell's lone mishap of the day was a drop, which has now come in consecutive weeks, but the wideout has learned much from his fellow counterparts, and has gone from a fringe roster candidate to a near lock for a 53-man roster spot.

The next step? Showcasing his ability as a returner, which should come next week, as the 49ers will likely miss both Ray-Ray McCloud and Danny Gray.

WR Deebo Samuel

He didn't play much, but Deebo Samuel looked fresh on his two touches Saturday, which is exactly what you wanted to see from the star wideout in limited action during the preseason.

Samuel's explosiveness and after-the-catch ability were on display during a screen pass, which he took for 25 yards, and also made another 14-yard catch to cap his day.

If the 49ers can continue to get an active and explosive Samuel like the player they saw in 2021, San Francisco will be in good shape around the board with their skill position players.

DT Javon Hargrave

Seeing his first action as a member of the 49ers, Javon Hargrave notched a chasedown sack of Russell Wilson, marking the beginning of what's to come in a San Francisco uniform.

Hargrave's power was undeniable in training camp, but if he can show even a flash of good athleticism, the 49ers will be in good hands with their $84 million investment.

Pairing him with Arik Armstead up the middle shouldn't hinder their run defense, while dramatically improving their pass rush.

DT T.Y. McGill

After a disappointing week for the backup defensive line, T.Y. McGill stood out, notching a sack with the second-team defense with a nice pass rush.

The 49ers have depth concerns at defensive line, and McGill put himself in a better standing with his play on Saturday.

While his run defense is questionable, McGill is one of the better pass rushers on the team, which likely aids into his chances at a 53-man roster spot come week 1.

McGill was one of the players to earn praise from defensive coordinator Steve Wilks following the game.

LB Jalen Graham

Graham continues to have a solid preseason, and took MIKE responsibilities on Saturday, meaning he had the mic in his helmet to relay plays defensively.

Graham's trigger defensively continues to flash defensively, and he's looking more and more like a 53-man roster lock.

But, it's good to hear Graham occupy multiple linebacker spots at the second level, signifying his versatility when tasked to play down the line.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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